Storyline: Anthony Davis Trade?

421 rumors in this storyline

Chris Haynes on where Anthony Davis will be to start the 2019-20 season: “I’m going to go with the Lakers. That’s my prediction: I think he starts next season with the Lakers… If he maintains the stance that he’s not doing Boston [long-term] – and that’s with or without Kyrie [Irving] – I think LA has the best package. We may have to wait and see about New York because if they get the No. 1 overall pick, they could be in the game as well. But I think, at the end of the day, he’ll end up in LA.”

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If anyone understands what Anthony Davis is thinking, asking for a trade out of New Orleans with nearly 1 1/2 seasons left on his contract, it’s Abdul-Jabbar. His trade request came with two years left on his contract in Milwaukee. Eventually, he got his wish in the summer that followed his ask and got traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. “I think that the players have power because they have value,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “The players that teams know that they can win with are going to be in a position to dictate what they want to do.”

When Davis asked to be traded last month, the All-Star forward provided the front office with a list of teams he’d prefer to be traded to. The Knicks were among those teams and Steve Mills, the Knicks president, had informal talks with Demps about a possible deal centered around Davis and Kristaps Porzingis. According to a source familiar with the talks, Demps was not prepared to trade Davis to New York before knowing where the Knicks will select in the 2019 NBA Draft. The Knicks then traded Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks.

Griffin, who won a title in Cleveland with LeBron James, was considering an offer to become Knicks GM two years ago before turning down the job. According to a Knicks source, Griffin lost interest in the job when Mills signed Tim Hardaway Jr. to a free agent contract while the Knicks were negotiating with Griffin to run the team. Griffin, who was led to believe he’d have full autonomy, quickly learned that Mills wasn’t about to relinquish any power. The message was that they would share the duties of running the Knicks. No one knows if that experience would make Griffin reluctant to deal with the Knicks’ front office. Those who know Griffin say his personality is to simply look for the best deal and, if the Knicks offered the most attractive package, he would take it.
1 week ago via ESPN

New Orleans owner Gayle Benson has been angry over the Davis trade demand and her belief that “outside forces” are trying to push the franchise into decisions that don’t make sense for them, league sources said. Her mandate has been to “take back control from outside forces,” one league source told ESPN. Benson has been adamant with the organization to find a pathway to sustainable winning in one of the league’s smallest markets, and plans to be aggressive in pursuing the best available candidates to oversee basketball operations, league sources said.
1 week ago via ESPN

Benson owns the Pelicans and New Orleans Saints NFL team, and had Demps reporting to Saints GM Mickey Loomis. The Pelicans are eager to conduct a search that will attract a top basketball executive who’ll take on a more prominent role in the franchise. Benson is promising to pursue a top-level GM to revitalize a franchise that’s coming to a crossroads with the Davis trade. Among preliminary possible candidates, league sources tell ESPN: Former Cleveland GM David Griffin.

In Barkley’s view, though, the Lakers, who reportedly offered a trade package that included Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and multiple draft picks, have no reason to hang their heads about their inability to consummate a deal. “At some point Anthony Davis is going to be with the Lakers,” Barkley predicted. “The fix is in. I actually got a call from Rich Paul. I said, ‘Dude, the fix is in, you know he’s going to the Lakers.’ Once [Davis] signed with Klutch, the fix was in.”

Is this Davis’s fault? The decision to take his trade request public backfired, putting the Pelicans in this position. That Davis took this tact is puzzling. Handled quietly, and the Pelicans might have been more open to dealing with the Lakers, sources familiar with the situation told The Crossover. But Davis’s attempt to bully his way to LA, coupled with internal questions about whether the Lakers, who are headlined by LeBron James, who is represented by Rich Paul, who also represents Davis, had a hand in all this only served to cement the Pelicans resistance to dealing with Los Angeles—for now, anyway.

The questions about his playing future won’t stop during the All-Star break either. Saturday’s open media session could be especially challenging for Davis. And all eyes will be on him during Sunday’s All-Star Game when he teams up with LeBron James, who has made it known that he wants Davis to join the Los Angeles Lakers. “You got to prepare for it,” Davis told The Undefeated last month about handling All-Star Weekend. “I got asked the questions before, but my answers going to stay the same. My job is to focus on the Pelicans; the other stuff, I let whoever handle it. … My job is to focus on trying to be the most competent player, help this team get to the playoffs. The rest of it is going to be talked about when it’s talked about.”
2 weeks ago via ESPN

“I was talking to about the Celtics the other day and they said the worst thing that happened to the Celtics was their success last season. Because now you’ve got Tatum, [Jaylen] Brown, [Terry] Rozier — these young guys are thinking dude, we went to Game 7 of the East Finals without you, Kyrie, without you, Hayward. We’re this level of player … This summer, they could be gone. They might up end in New Orleans [for Davis]. It’s gossip, but the gossip is Jayson Tatum wouldn’t mind if he’s shipped to New Orleans and has a chance to be the face of the franchise somewhere. Because he’s not going to get that opportunity in Boston, at least not in the immediate future.”

If the Knicks luck out in the lottery with a top-two pick, the Pelicans will pay attention to them on draft night. A potential scenario is the Pelicans crafting a draft-night deal when the picks are revealed. In the Knicks’ case, the trade wouldn’t become official July 1 when they have their $74 million in cap space. The Knicks have plenty of young assets the Pelicans would consider, according to a source. Along with a lottery pick in June and one of the two Dallas first-rounders, the Pelicans can choose between two of the following: Smith, Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina, Mitchell Robinson and Damyean Dotson.

New Orleans Pelicans General Manager Dell Demps released the following statement today: “Anthony Davis will play the remainder of the 2018-19 season for the New Orleans Pelicans. A number of factors contributed to this decision. Ultimately, Anthony made it clear to us that he wants to play and he gives our team the best opportunity to win games. Moreover, the Pelicans want to preserve the integrity of the game and align our organization with NBA policies. We believe Anthony playing upholds the values that are in the best interest of the NBA and its fans. We look forward to seeing Anthony in a Pelicans uniform again soon.”

Chris Haynes: “It’s possible they’re going to hold [Davis] out until the conclusion of the trade deadline and even possibly after that if he remains a Pelican. There’s a chance during the second half of the season, I was told, that they would probably look to shut him down to a certain extent … If it does get to that point where he’s still a Pelican after the deadline and the organization decides to make that move on sitting him down, that’s where I think we’re in uncharted territory. And I know for a fact Anthony Davis will probably file a grievance.”


This will still be an anxious week for the Boston brass, knowing the team will be sidelined from negotiations as other teams try to pry Davis from the Pelicans. Some rival executives have wondered why the Pelicans would rush to make a decision now, with the likelihood that the Lakers’ offer will still be there come the offseason. At that time, New Orleans would be able to better judge its other offers, including that from Boston. Jayson Tatum is widely viewed as the best prospect potentially on the table. The Celtics also have a list of other talented young players, like Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown, plus a number of draft picks to sweeten the offer. Even if the Kings’ pick isn’t likely to land where Boston hoped entering the season, the Celtics have the pieces to compete with anyone else’s offer — and they intend to be aggressive, sources said, assuming they actually get the chance to enter the race.

And when a report surfaced Monday that Anthony Davis would be willing sign a long-term deal with the Bucks — the Bucks! — if they could swing a deal for him, that amounted to the stamp of approval that every team is looking for, especially a small-market team with only one title in its history and no trips out of the first round of the playoffs since 2001. “I saw that report, and I think it’s great,” Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry told Sporting News near the Barclays Center court after his team shredded a depleted Nets club in Brooklyn. “It’s a little bit of what we want. We want players to come and play in Milwaukee. And part of it is, when you’re winning and you’re setting a standard for excellence, people see that. People want to win.

This latest Lakers-Celtics subplot would be dead by now if Ainge had been scared off, but sources say Boston — which can’t trade for Davis until this summer because of the well-chronicled “Rose Rule” — is continuing its complicated pursuit of the five-time All-Star in spite of the message being sent through various channels that he doesn’t want to play there. A source with knowledge of the talks said the potential centerpiece in a Pelicans package, 20-year-old Celtics small forward Jayson Tatum, has been discussed extensively by the two teams and is expected to be a major part of the talks when June rolls around.

Magic Johnson, the Lakers president of basketball operations, told New Orleans general manager Dell Demps Tuesday morning that Los Angeles had made its best offer that the Pelicans had wanted, but that the Lakers were not willing to add anything else and would be moving on, a person said. The Lakers were not going to give the Pelicans the six to eight draft picks they wanted for Davis, the person said, knowing that the four first-round picks and second-round picks were more than the Lakers would offer.

“They wanted more and more and more,” said one person. “There was no more to give. They had cap-relief with Hill being in the deal. But the more they wanted the more it because outrageous and unrealistic.” One person said the Pelicans are hopeful that if Davis isn’t traded by the NBA’s Thursday noon (Pacific Time) deadline, that he’ll want to stay and play for the Pelicans going forward. “But that’s not going to happen,” the person said. “AD is not changing his mind.”

As the Pelicans field offers for Anthony Davis, Boston’s message to New Orleans has been direct: Wait. Wait, and we will come to you with an offer that will make it worth it. Wait, and you can raid our stash of draft picks. The Celtics have refused to directly dangle Jayson Tatum, two sources familiar with the situation told SI.com, but the Pelicans have been left with the impression that if Davis remains on the roster past Thursday, nothing is off the table.

Davis, 25, eagerly wanted to suit up at home against the Indiana Pacers after recovering from a left finger avulsion that sidelined him for a little more than two weeks, sources said, but the organization elected to keep him inactive. There’s the impression that his absence could potentially extend until the conclusion of Thursday’s trade deadline, sources said. It was the first contest Davis was healthy enough to rejoin the team since sustaining the injury on Jan. 18, sources said.


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