Before Saturday’s league-altering trade between New O…

Before Saturday’s league-altering trade between New Orleans and the Los Angeles Lakers, which sent Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round picks to the Big Easy for Davis, the Nuggets did their due diligence on a potential Davis deal, according to a league source.

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Davis, who can be a free agent next summer, had long made it known that he wanted to play alongside LeBron James in Los Angeles. If the Nuggets believed that Davis would’ve considered staying past next season, they would’ve been more aggressive in trying to acquire the six-time All-Star, according to a source. They were confident that that wasn’t the case.
Yes, the Celts still tried to negotiate a trade with New Orleans, but according to a Pelicans source, the offers were understandably never as good as intimated back when there was still a reasonable belief Irving could be kept. In that scenario, it was presumed the Celtics would have opened their asset locker wider to take a shot at an Irving-Davis ticket for 2019-20, hoping that success would entice the latter to remain for a longer term.
Although the Pelicans are open to working with the Lakers and delaying the trade, it’s unlikely that will happen, according to multiple people familiar with their thinking. New Orleans’ priority will be to make the fourth pick as attractive as possible to another team.
Because of salary cap rules, if the trade is consummated in late July, the Lakers would have the space to add another maximum contract. That cap space could be used on players like Kyrie Irving or Kemba Walker, all-star point guards who will be free agents. That scenario would require the Lakers to draft the fourth overall pick for the Pelicans, or whatever team has its rights by the time of the draft, then sign that player as quickly as possible. League rules do not allow a signed draft pick to be traded for 30 days, which would make July 20 the earliest date the trade could be consummated.
Calling those discussions in February "negotiations" is a bit of a stretch. The Pelicans were never serious about dealing with the Lakers then. They didn't like being forced into this position by Davis and his representative, Rich Paul. And they probably weren't going to let former general manager Dell Demps make this big of a decision anyway. So the Lakers -- really just Johnson, because Demps wouldn't talk to Pelinka -- would call and Demps would write names on the board without giving them any feedback. Those names would leak publicly and do damage to the Lakers' team chemistry.
When everyone came up for air and surveyed the damage, both sides realized there was still a hell of a deal to make if they could get over themselves. Said one source close to the negotiations, "The biggest difference this time was David Griffin [the new Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations]. He wasn't involved before. He could negotiate frankly and fairly."
Adrian Wojnarowski: For now, expectation is Anthony Davis trade will be completed on July 6, league sources tell @Bobby Marks and me. Assuming Davis declines to void $4M trade bonus, this leaves Lakers with $23.7M in space. There is chance that could be amended to July 30, but it’s still 6th now.
The Post reported last week the Pelicans didn’t view the Knicks’ young assets as especially attractive in comparison to other Davis suitors, feeling they needed a third team more than any other squad involved. According to an NBA source, the Knicks “weren’t close” to having a major package to entice New Orleans on a deal. The Lakers didn’t need a third team to land Davis and unite him with James, but they have, as one NBA executive put it, “mortgaged their future for a very small window with LeBron.’’
Tim Bontemps: The Pelicans will get the following picks from the Lakers, league sources tell ESPN: No. 4 pick in 2019 Top-8 protected in 2021, becomes unprotected in ‘22 Unprotected swap in ‘23 Unprotected first in ‘24 Unprotected swap in ‘25 Tremendous haul for David Griffin & the Pelicans.
Some thought that the final iteration of the Lakers-Pelicans deal would be a three-team deal, involving New Orleans potentially forwarding along No. 4 to another team, or the Lakers spearheading things and forwarding it along to another team prior to the trade itself for a player the Pelicans valued more than the pick. Indeed, sources indicated that the Pelicans are said to have had communications with teams prior to this deal in order to gauge value on what the pick could be worth. The Pelicans think that with the pieces acquired here, in addition to Zion Williamson and Jrue Holiday’s presence, they could be in the mix for a playoff spot this year despite dealing Davis for what is ostensibly a futures-based package. If they can make a move that allows them to remain flexible into the future while also getting someone that fits their longer term timeline, that would be attractive to them.

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Sometimes a bettor’s timing seems too good. The Westgate in Las Vegas took a $10,000 bet on Saturday at 3 p.m. local time on the Los Angeles Lakers to win the 2020 NBA title at 5-1 odds. Twenty seven minutes later, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that the New Orleans Pelicans had traded Anthony Davis to the LA Lakers to join LeBron James. “I’m sure it was with knowledge, but that’s why we have liability limits in place,” said Jeff Sherman, manager at the Westgate. The liability limit for futures was set at $50,000.
The Celtics, meanwhile, will pull back and most likely build around their young core, with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown as the centerpieces. According to a league source, the Celtics never felt like a deal for Davis was close as discussions unfolded this past week.
There was some belief that the Celtics should chase Davis at any cost and attempt to win a championship next year, just like the Raptors successfully did with Kawhi Leonard this season. But sources said the Celtics also had concerns about giving up so many important pieces of their roster that they would not necessarily even be a championship-caliber team with Davis next season.
Even if Irving departs, the Celtics remain optimistic about the state of the franchise. They hold the 14th, 20th, and 22nd picks in this draft. Even though some, if not all, of those picks likely would have been shipped out in a Davis deal, sources said the pursuit of Davis did not affect the team’s draft preparations, as they carried on, business as usual. According to a league source, the Celtics will continue to explore ways to potentially use some of those picks in deals for other current players, but that nothing was imminent.
The Pelicans' return for Davis was substantial and perhaps even more impressive given that the market had shrunk on New Orleans, based upon rival teams believing Davis would ultimately become just a one-year rental before leaving for the Lakers next summer.
The Pelicans will now have two of the top four picks in Thursday's NBA draft -- No. 1 and No. 4. New Orleans will select Zion Williamson at No. 1 and now has the flexibility to select a player at No. 4 -- or trade it at auction in the next several days. New Orleans has had significant interest in talks with teams in recent days on the fourth pick, and those talks are expected to continue over the next several days, sources said. Teams are pursuing point guards Darius Garland and Coby White high in the lottery, which gives New Orleans a chance for an even bigger haul from the deal.
Jon Johnson: Jimmy likes what LA is doing. pic.twitter.com/qsivIlcmoG

http://twitter.com/jonjohnsonwip/status/1140035895803953152
Chris Mannix: Lakers get Davis without having to surrender Kyle Kuzma, important as they fill out the roster for next year. Pelicans get a haul, but this is a big day for Rob Pelinka. Lakers get their man.
There is still some hope within the organization that Irving will have a change of heart if Boston is able to acquire Davis. And Irving’s fickle personality certainly makes anything possible until he officially agrees to terms with some team.
But the likelihood of an Irving return appears to be decreasing. Nevertheless, the sources said, it is clear that the Celtics’ pursuit of Davis will push forward.
It is widely known that the Celtics have the shiniest collection of assets for a potential Davis deal, but there are questions about how far they would open their treasure chest. One league source said the uncertainty surrounding Davis’s long-term future in Boston has thus far limited the Celtics’ willingness to overwhelm New Orleans with an offer.
ESPN's Rachel Nichols asked Brian Windhorst on Thursday's episode of The Jump if Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin was using the Lakers' offer as leverage to gain more assets from the Celtics, and Windhorst said he believed that to be the case: "I think it's a good sign that David Griffin is shopping the No. 4 pick. That at least means he's open to a deal with the Lakers. But I think all of this is a maneuver to draw as much as he possibly can out of the Celtics. They've preferred to deal with the Celtics since Dell Demps was the general manager. The Lakers' offers haven't changed that much. They have a higher pick, but they don't really have different players to offer. If he really wanted to make the Lakers deal, and he really wanted the draft pick, he would've already made the Lakers deal."
Should Irving leave, and the team’s bid for an Anthony Davis trade fall through, then short of moving ahead with what’s left, Danny Ainge’s creativity will be tested like never before. Though he wouldn’t share specifics, Grousbeck has admittedly heard some fairly exotic scenarios being discussed. “There’s definitely scenarios being spun inside the basketball office,” he said. “I’m there every day listening to them, that involve a number of players. I’ve heard a lot of scenarios. We’ll just see what happens.”
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Pelicans and Celtics are involved in a stare-down, and he thinks the Los Angeles Lakers are being used to drive up the price for his star. “I think it’s a good sign that David Griffin is shopping the number four pick. That at least means he’s open to a deal with the Lakers,” Windhorst said. “But I think all of this is a maneuver to draw as much as he possibly can out of the Celtics.”
Brian Windhorst: “They’ve preferred a deal with the Celtics since Dell Demps was the GM. The Lakers offers haven’t changed that much... if he wanted to make the Lakers deal, and if he really wanted the draft pick, he would have already made the Lakers deal.”
Marc Stein: The Lakers, thus far, are sticking to their no-Kuzma trade posture ... but let’s see if they maintain it with the draft only a week away now. L.A. knows it likely needs to land Anthony Davis before June 30 to become a factor in chasing a prime free agent to join a LeBron/AD duo
Durant, Leonard and Davis are the three best players available and are the only three stars the Clippers are actively pursuing. The Clippers are firmly in contention for Leonard and/or Durant, but Durant’s torn Achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday night — as well as Leonard’s Finals run with the Raptors and Davis’ recently revised trade list — has somewhat clouded the offseason forecast. That is compounded by the fact that missing out on the stars they want will not force the Clippers into a reactionary decision — be it a signing or trade — this offseason, league sources told The Athletic.
The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers are engaged in separate trade talks with the New Orleans Pelicans in pursuit of All-NBA forward Anthony Davis, league sources told ESPN on Wednesday. The Lakers and Celtics are negotiating competing trade packages to acquire Davis, whom New Orleans EVP of Basketball Operations David Griffin seems intent on trading prior to the NBA draft on June 20, league sources said.
The New Orleans Pelicans are interested in three of the Lakers’ young players — whether that’s Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma or Josh Hart — and the No. 4 pick in order to acquire Davis, according to people familiar with the trade discussions who were not authorized to speak publicly because of the fluidity of the situation. It’s possible New Orleans could use the No. 4 pick to acquire a player from a third team.
Among the current young Lakers, New Orleans covets Kuzma the most. According to people familiar with the Lakers’ thinking, Kuzma has ingratiated himself with the organization both on the court and off, and management does not want to trade the forward, who is entering his third season. The Lakers might have an opportunity to keep their No. 4 pick should they agree to part with Kuzma.
Marc Stein: My sense is that the Lakers, to this point, have tried to keep Kyle Kuzma out of the talks and the full package New Orleans would receive in an Anthony Davis deal obviously depends on what the third team provides
Tania Ganguli: One player that the Lakers’ trade discussions with the Pelicans for Anthony Davis could hinge on? Kyle Kuzma. The Lakers do not want to trade him, but the Pelicans want him as part of a package, sources tell me and @Brad Turner.
Marc Stein: The Lakers have made Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and the No. 4 pick in the June 20 draft available in trade talks with the Pelicans, league sources say. New Orleans has made it known it hope to assemble a three-teams-or-more deal before surrendering Anthony Davis
Bobby Marks: Boston is still not allowed to do a Davis trade until after July 1 because of the Designated Rookie Extension Rule. Kyrie Irving is not a free agent until June 30 @ 6PM EST. Both sides can negotiate a framework of a deal and verbally agree.
Adrian Wojnarowski: To be clear, of course: The Celtics and Lakers are trying to negotiate independent deals with New Orleans for Anthony Davis. There's no spirit of cooperation here. The Lakers No. 4 pick would be used to acquire Davis in a multi-team deal that does NOT include Boston.
Adrian Wojnarowski: So far, Boston has been undeterred in pursuing Davis -- despite his agent insisting AD would be a 2020 flight risk in free agency. For Boston, Davis could still be its best case to keep Kyrie Irving. Story soon on ESPN.com
Adrian Wojnarowski: Celtics and Lakers are engaged in trade talks with New Orleans on All-NBA star Anthony Davis, league sources tell me, @Zach Lowe, @Ramona Shelburne and @Brian Windhorst. Lakers No. 4 pick has been discussed as trade chip to help Pels acquire high-level player in multi-team deals.
On the Davis front, some Knicks decision makers have been adamant about not giving up a ton of significant assets -- young players or draft picks -- in a Davis trade, per SNY sources. Some in the organization are wary of giving up too many young assets or picks for Davis, citing the way things played out for New York in the wake of the Carmelo Anthony trade, per sources.
Boston? Davis’s father told ESPN in February that he wouldn’t want his son playing for the Celtics, and Paul confirms that he has warned off Boston management. “They can trade for him, but it’ll be for one year,” Paul says. “I mean: If the Celtics traded for Anthony Davis, we would go there and we would abide by our contractual [obligations] and we would go into free agency in 2020. I’ve stated that to them. But in the event that he decides to walk away and you give away assets? Don’t blame Rich Paul.”
“Where he’s going to land? I have no idea,” Paul says. “And it don’t matter. We’re going into free agency. Why does it matter to me where he goes? Earth: We’re going into free agency. He has a year, he has to play. But after that, I can’t say it no bigger: WE ARE GOING INTO FREE AGENCY. 2020: ANTHONY DAVIS WILL BE IN FREE AGENCY.”
Remember LeVert’s words, “Whatever happens, happens” when asked about free agency. It wasn’t said in a cryptic way, but it’s the truth. Anything can happen at any time. The Nets are in a position to get big free agents and/or make a splash trade, specifically for Anthony Davis. However, sources say that while the Nets are engaged in talks with New Orleans, they’re reluctant to give away their young, foundation pieces. That would be Caris LeVert himself. Furthermore, NetsDaily learned that despite Durant’s injury, the Nets are expected to continue their pursuit of KD next month.
The Knicks could trade several young assets, including their No. 3 pick that could turn into RJ Barrett, for Anthony Davis. But even if they do so, it may not even make them a playoff team if Davis doesn’t have a star partner. According to a source, the Pelicans need a third team with the Knicks in a trade more than any other potential club in the mix. Pelicans brass doesn’t find all the Knicks’ young assets attractive enough for a package.
Kevin Knox is the closest to a potential All-Star, but he went through a roller-coaster rookie season. According to a source, the Pelicans consider the Celtics to have the best young assets.
But if the Knicks don't sign Leonard and Durant is no longer an option, you wonder if it still makes sense to pursue Davis in a trade. Prior to Durant's injury, the Knicks had talked to the Pelicans about a potential Davis trade, SNY sources confirm. The Pelicans, according to an ESPN report, weren't enamored by any offer the Knicks or any other suitors had made for Davis. So the Knicks had engaged in some dialogue with teams in an effort to improve their offer for Davis, per SNY sources.
Davis submitted a four-team preferred destinations list to the Pelicans in February [...] but it is believed that list has been narrowed in focus. Davis is now focused on the Lakers and Knicks as the two desired long-term destinations, league sources told The Athletic. Davis has not given Griffin or the Pelicans a new formal list. He will be a free agent in 2020.
Several teams — including the Celtics — are aggressive about pursuing Davis understanding they would potentially lose him after one season, when he is set to become a free agent. The Celtics want to pursue Davis and believe in their roster with or without Kyrie Irving, league sources said.
The Knicks, owners of the No. 3 pick in the draft, have been motivated to pursue Davis sooner rather than later. The Lakers still have their young core of players intact, such as Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart, and the No. 4 pick. There is intrigue to see how the Lakers handle these trade talks, after providing less-than-appealing offers to the Pelicans during the trade deadline in February. For the Knicks, securing Davis would be a step to try to begin attracting talent around Davis with a significant upcoming free-agent crop in Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving.
New Orleans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin has started to provide potential suitors with the framework of the package that he is seeking in a trade for All-NBA forward Anthony Davis, including multi-team scenarios that would expand the Pelicans' pool of assets in a deal, league sources told ESPN. So far, Los Angeles and New York teams --- the Clippers and Lakers, Knicks and Nets -- have been among front offices inquiring with New Orleans, league sources said.
According to front offices who've engaged in conversations with Griffin, he hasn't sounded convinced that a singular team is likely to fulfill his wishes for a Davis deal. To that end, Griffin has been working to find multi-team trade scenarios that could redirect assets for players or picks more preferable to the Pelicans, sources said.
Griffin is pursuing a combination of assets that include an All-Star player, a young player with All-Star potential and two first-round picks, league sources said. Those wants are on a sliding scale. For example, the better the player, the softer the asks on the draft picks -- and vice versa.
But perhaps not, according to the latest episode of "The Crossover" with Chris Mannix. As he explains with his guest Rohan Nadkarni of Sports illustrated, if Irving were to walk in free agency, it wouldn't diminish the Celtics' appetite for Davis. "From what I understand, they're not going to take their foot off the gas when it comes to pursuing Anthony Davis," Mannix said.
The LA Clippers are not prepared to part with one former Kentucky star in order to acquire another. In an appearance Thursday on ESPN’s “The Sedano Show,” NBA insider Bobby Marks reported that guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is “off the board” in any potential Clippers’ trade for Anthony Davis.
Fletcher Mackel: NBA source (who I trust a lot) told me tonight he thinks Boston is landing spot for Anthony Davis. Says Tatum is player NOLA covets most. Tatum, Smart (who @PelicansNBA also really like), filler (Williams, Ojeyele or Yabusele) & at least pick #14 this year.
According to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, a lot of people inside of New Orleans' organization wouldn't have to reconsider anything. They were high on the Lakers' offer from the start. Speaking on The Sedano Show, here's what's McMenamin had to say: I spoke to several people within the Pelicans' organization in the past several months that have a really high opinion of Brandon Ingram, and beyond just Brandon Ingram, have a really high opinion of the trade package that was on the table that was ultimately rejected.
Storyline: Anthony Davis Trade
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September 23, 2021 | 11:46 am EDT Update
Though it doesn’t look good right now, the Sixers continue to insist that their preferred outcome at this point is to bring Simmons back and try to work through this. Embiid has publicly stumped for Simmons and privately insisted they can turn this around if they simply get him back in the gym and around the team. Rivers does not believe this will be an issue in the locker room, using an example from his own playing days to show these situations can be rectified. “The San Antonio Spurs traded Sean Elliott,” Rivers said. “You remember that? Traded him to Detroit, he failed the physical, didn’t want to come back, came back and they won the championship the next year, so these things can happen.”
Storyline: Ben Simmons Trade?
“That may be where he’s at today, that may not be where he’s at tomorrow. You just don’t know, and that’s why we got to keep communicating and see where we can take this,” Rivers said. “He has four years left on his contract, it’s in our hands…once we get him back in the fold, then we can get to work. If that doesn’t happen, I don’t have an expectation. Because I don’t know where we would go. That will happen if it happens, but right now Ben is still part of this team, and I’m gonna focus on that part of it.”
Yossi Gozlan: The Pelicans ended up operating over the cap after clearing a lot of money in their trade with the Memphis Grizzlies. While they couldn’t get an All-Star caliber player with their flexibility, they might have better fits on their team now that they have more shooting to surround Williamson. They could be primed for a significant in-season trade with many young players, draft picks and tradeable salaries in their arsenal. Satoransky and Josh Hart could be particularly expendable due to New Orleans’ glut of guards, with Hart being an intriguing name to keep an eye on due to his unique salary structure.
Yossi Gozlan: Robinson is currently eligible for an extension worth up to $55.6 million over four years. Since the Knicks exercised his team option for this season, he will become an unrestricted free agent in 2022. This could incentivize them to extend him before the end of the season. A two-year deal that aligns his contract with the rest of the core could make sense. The Knicks won’t be losing any cap space since they’re capped out until at least 2023. They also must decide whether or not to extend Kevin Knox before the start of the regular season.
Storyline: Mitchell Robinson Extension?
Ownership was made aware of Rosas’ transgressions with the staffer when team officials were provided with photographic evidence of their connection, sources said. It seems few if any in Minnesota and around the league had general knowledge of Rosas’ relationship until Wednesday, when the news quickly spread throughout the organization, and to rival team personnel, like wildfire. Rosas and the woman, each of whom is married, were seen kissing in a suite during a Minnesota United FC game last Saturday at Allianz Field​​, sources said. The soccer club was told to reserve luxury seating for several Timberwolves players and personnel, including assistant coach Pablo Prigioni. Two seats were filled by Rosas and the staffer.
Those pictures have been obtained by Bleacher Report. One photograph is a close-up shot, clearly showing Rosas and the woman sitting beside one another in light blue cushioned seats, behind the suite’s protective plexiglass. A second photograph follows, where the two have leaned towards one another for a romantic embrace. Minnesota’s statement announcing Rosas’ departure provided no further context behind its decision, and as word of his affair swirled around the league Wednesday, several executives noted how Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor did not thank Rosas for his time atop the team’s basketball department, as is customary in the business.
Storyline: Timberwolves Front Office
The revelation of Rosas’ relationship comes after a series of tense staffing dynamics within his front office, and a level of discontent from some Timberwolves staffers pertaining to Rosas’ leadership style, which has been described as isolationist. Any lead executive is privy to make final basketball decisions as they see fit, but several Minnesota figures told B/R they were dissatisfied by Rosas’ penchant for disregarding consultations from his front office.