NBA rumors: Lakers very unlikely to trade Anthony Davis

Jake Fischer on a potential Anthony Davis trade: I don’t think they will (trade him) at all, from what I’ve been told and the fact that what they gave up to New Orleans to get him… I mean the Lakers went all in on pairing Anthony Davis with the Bron for as long as that pairing could stand and I’d be shocked if it came to a close this offseason.

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“They (the Lakers) made such an effort to bring AD to that team. And if they are going to deal him, they would only send him where he wants to be. And I just don’t think Boston would ever be a team on his list,” the executive told Heavy. Obviously, when trading for a franchise cornerstone talent, keeping the player happy is always a gamble. Some players value winning; others prefer to be in a city that offers them opportunities outside of basketball. It’s unclear what Davis values or what teams he would have an interest in joining should he, or the Lakers, decide to move on.
With that in mind, one NBA front office executive recently told Heavy that he believes Boston could put forward a package to acquire the Los Angeles Lakers‘ Anthony Davis and that the deal wouldn’t need to include Celtics star Jayson Tatum. “It was no secret Danny wanted him (in 2019). He would have given up Tatum in a heartbeat for AD. They wanted to offer Brown, but it would have come down to Tatum. And he would have done it in the end, I think. Now the Lakers would want Tatum back, but there is no way the Celtics do that. “But put AD in a deal with Horton-Tucker for Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Aaron Nesmith? The Lakers would have to consider that. I’d take it,” said the executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Brian Windhorst: People in the league who have a lot of experience, say they should trade them both (LeBron James and Anthony Davis). And because again, it makes some sense. I just don't think they can do that. And I think this is going to be a severe, serious conversation that probably could hang over Lakers games.
But as that season was getting under way, Irving was all-in. And it wasn’t just about himself. He wanted Anthony Davis, who could have been had in an offseason trade with New Orleans. “Oh, Kyrie was definitely on AD,” a Pelicans source told “It was looking like Anthony Davis was going to go to Boston with Kyrie there for a stretch. That’s what Kyrie wanted,” a league executive told Heavy. “Boston would have had to work it out with New Orleans, but once Anthony made his decision of where he wanted to go, the Pelicans wouldn’t have had much choice.
“But that’s the way it was going. I think people assumed at first that Durant would stay with Golden State, so Kyrie was courting AD to join him in Boston. It was looking good, but then Anthony and Kyrie had a little bit of a falling out for some reason. I think Kyrie fell more in love with Kevin Durant as opposed to Anthony Davis. Maybe he realized KD was possible.” Said another source when told of that remark, “‘A falling out’ is an interesting way to put it, because obviously Kyrie had a falling out with Boston at some point there.”
“Kyrie fell out of love with Boston for a couple of reasons — mostly some of the young guys that didn’t respect him as he thought they should have,” a source told recently. “I think it had a little bit to do with Brad (Stevens) and the way he was coaching the young players, as opposed to building everything around him. I don’t think he had any problem with Brad Stevens as a person or as a smart coach; I think he just wanted it to be more about him. It’s like, ‘He doesn’t know how to coach a superstar.'” Said another source close to the situation, “A lot of the young guys looked up to Kyrie, but there was clearly an issue there. Then you saw him getting in cahoots with KD. He had made his mind up that it was him or them. It wasn’t going to work.” Said yet another source, “He did behave different around the team the second half of that second year.”
In the wake of the Lakers not executing a transaction before last week’s NBA trade deadline, ESPN’s Ramona Shelbourne reported that the Lakers trio of Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis, and LeBron James will likely being playing together again next year. “I’ve even heard this phrasing of this is probably going to be the roster next year too. A lot of the minimum contract guys will change, but I think this is what they got.”
Marc Stein on the Lakers: They had the six worst seasons in franchise history before they got LeBron and who knows? It could be equally bumpy when the LeBron-AD era is over. I think that's why you've kind of started hearing and it's all very speculative... I want to stress that I have not heard anything to this effect. But you do start to hear that. People are asking the question, 'Will they trade AD before his contract runs out so they don't end up in that position?'
The Los Angeles Lakers have acquired forward Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, the draft rights to De'Andre Hunter, two first round picks, a first-round pick swap right and cash. As part of the trade, the Lakers also sent Isaac Bonga, Jemerrio Jones, Moritz Wagner and a future second round draft pick to the Wizards, who in return, sent cash consideration to the Pelicans.
“Anthony’s impact upon the Pelicans’ franchise and our region over the past seven seasons has been profound,” said Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin. “We are mindful and appreciative of his contributions. We are similarly appreciative of the opportunity we have as we move into the next phase of Pelicans basketball. The tremendous additions to our family that we announce here today represent the selflessness, competitive desire, and off-court character we intend build around.”
Will Guillory: I was just told the guys acquired in the AD trade will not be available tonight. The team is hoping to complete the trade call soon
League sources told ESPN's Bobby Marks that the Pelicans, Hawks and Wizards are expected to cooperate with the Lakers if Leonard is still undecided by noon on Saturday. The July 6 date was agreed upon initially in the Lakers' and Pelicans' deal sending Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round picks for Davis. The deal was based on the Lakers using the $32 million in cap space created on a max free agent like Leonard or on multiple free agents.
If the Pelicans, Hawks and Wizards do not agree to delay the date to make the trade official past July 6 should Leonard remain undecided, the Lakers' cap space would shrink to $30 million and Los Angeles would only be able to offer Leonard a four-year deal worth $127 million compared to the four-year, $138-million contract they can offer with $32 million available in cap space.
Last year, you had a front-row seat to the Anthony Davis drama and I know that can be difficult for a team to go through. Not only are you constantly being asked about it, but it’s natural for players to look over their shoulder and wonder if they might also be traded in some kind of blockbuster deal. What was it like having all of that drama and uncertainty around the Pelicans last season? Elfrid Payton: I feel like for all of us, to a certain extent, it wasn’t as bad as the media was making it seem. AD had already told us all that there was a possibility that something might happen, so it wasn’t a shock to us. We already knew. Then, the media took it and ran with it and made it bigger than it really was. They’d ask a bunch of questions, which kind of got aggravating. But, again, I just tried to remember, “They’re just doing their job.” For us, I felt like it wasn’t that big of a deal since he had told us that he may get traded.
Elfrid Payton: The only thing that was crazy was how they were like, “He needs to play in this game, but then he can miss the next game. And, when he does play, he’s only going to play 20 minutes…” That was the wildest thing for me and it’s what aggravated me the most about the entire situation. This is probably my first time saying this, but having him play some games and then miss some games and then only play 20 minutes in some games, that was hard. It’s hard to find a rhythm. And this is his job, something that he loves to do, and you’re taking it away from him. To me, it was almost like they were just teasing the guy by putting him out there for 20 minutes and then pulling him. That was the weirdest thing about the situation. I understand trying to protect your asset, but I feel like they should’ve just been able to sit him down for the whole time. You might as well play him for real or don’t play him at all, you know?
On Thursday, Washington acquired three players (Moritz Wagner, Jemerrio Jones and Isaac Bonga) in a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. By doing so, the Wizards lodged themselves into the Anthony Davis saga as the third team in the monumental trade between the New Orleans Pelicans and Lakers.
Magic Johnson: Wow wow WOW what a trade and big move by Jeanie and Rob to clear $32M in cap space! This move puts the Lakers in play for all of the free agents. I can't wait until Sunday!! It's going to be exciting!
Albert Nahmad: Pelicans trade structure doesn’t change. They’ll create an $11.1M trade exception (plus a $12.8M trade exception from Solomon Hill trade, unless they combine Davis trade into a 4-teamer, at which point they can get one $27.1M trade exception). They might choose cap room anyway.
The Los Angeles Lakers are trading Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones to the Washington Wizards as part of a three-way deal that landed New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis with L.A., clearing the way for maximum salary space in free agency, league sources tell ESPN. As part of the deal to unload those contracts and salary, Davis plans to waive his $4 million trade bonus, which will push the Lakers cap space to $32M for the start of free agency.
Bobby Marks: The mindset for now for LAL is to use the $32 million salary slot on one All-NBA player or split the money up between 2-3 players. Washington will take back the players sent from Los Angeles with the $5.45M trade exception that was created in the Dec. 2018 Jason Smith trade.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Lakers are trading Mo Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones to Wizards as part of the Anthony Davis deal with New Orleans, league sources tell @Zach Lowe and me. Deal clears contracts and creates more cap space for free agency.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Anthony Davis is waiving his $4M trade kicker, league sources tell ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Lakers will start free agency with $32M in salary cap space. The Lakers have the ability to sign a max player now.
Sam Amick: If Lakers want more cap room, they’d have to incentivize Pelicans to alter deal by adding additional pieces and New Orleans could refuse. Atlanta’s current expectation is that Hawks should have the fourth pick for summer league.
The Los Angeles Lakers are scrambling to reshape the parameters of the Anthony Davis trade with New Orleans and create the capacity for $32 million-plus in salary-cap space when the free-agent moratorium ends on July 6, league sources told ESPN.
The Lakers were engaging additional teams on Tuesday to take on the contracts of three of the remaining five players on the team's roster --- Mo Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones -- league sources said. Kyle Kuzma and LeBron James are the only other two Lakers remaining on the team's end-of-season roster.
Boston: The Celtics had long been a destination possibility for Davis, but Davis and those close to him made it clear that Boston was not a preferred long-term team. Davis had no interest in playing a single game for Boston — negotiating tactic or not. The gamble would have been heavy for Boston. Still, the Celtics engaged with New Orleans over the course of the past week. They were open to discussing Jayson Tatum and the future Memphis first-round pick but not in the same offer, sources said. Celtics president Danny Ainge will always swing for a tantalizing talent, but even he had to balance the risk and reward considering the uncertain future of his free-agent star, Kyrie Irving. For months New Orleans ownership and top business officials had believed a mega offer would come from Boston. There were offers. Just not the multiple top assets that many thought would come. Tatum, or the Memphis first-rounder, is a strong piece, but not enough to top the Lakers’ overall haul.
It wasn’t that long ago that Pelicans owner Gayle Benson had no interest in giving in to Davis’ wish to be a Laker, sources said. But after a cooling-off period, she made the right move for her franchise by agreeing to first-time Pelicans executive vice president David Griffin’s call to move on and push the button with the Lakers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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