Storyline: Anthony Davis Trade

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Anthony Davis officially a Laker

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“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.”

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?

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.

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.

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.’’

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.


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 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.

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.”

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.
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March 31, 2020 | 3:31 pm EDT Update
March 31, 2020 | 3:14 pm EDT Update
Stephon Marbury: I know that was something that people were saying that people didn’t need, but that’s a strong need. One of the things that I learned and saw from living in China and being here is that when the virus outbreak arrived, everyone wore a mask because nobody knew who had the virus. … People cough all the time. When people were saying to me, ‘Oh, you don’t need a mask.’ They’re probably saying that you don’t need the mask from a doctor standpoint. But you don’t know which person has this virus and people sneeze and cough and talk all the time. So, are you going to stop that? For me, knowing that was one of the main things that was needed from being in America and being out in New York and seeing how many people were walking around looking at me when I had on a mask, like, ‘Why you got a mask on?’ And I’m like, ‘You should have a mask on. It’s so important. It’s so vital.’
Storyline: Coronavirus
Stephon Marbury: So, the Brooklyn borough president, he reached out to me about helping him source some masks and other things. My focus has been on the mask and there are other things that I’m trying to help for the medical staff. They need robes, they need the gowns, the goggles, all of these different things are needed. And you know, I have friends that know people [in China] in all of these different areas at the manufacturer. So, I’ve been pretty much speaking to them and trying to accumulate and get everything from my country, for Coney Island, for Brooklyn, for New York City. It’s been a real challenge for me seeing all of us going on where I’m from. Anybody that knows me know how I feel about Coney Island and about New York. I’m a real New York kid.
Stephon Marbury: I lost my cousin to this virus. My little cousin [former NBA guard] Sebastian [Telfair] has an older brother. We lost him two days ago. His mom is fighting for her life right now because of the virus. So, it’s pretty difficult in this trying time and staying on focus and trying to handle the things that I need to handle for my mom and them. They’re nervous about my aunt. … For me being here [in China], my family there, I’m constantly thinking about my mom. My mom is 78 years old. She has respiratory issues. We can’t even allow nobody to come near our home with my mom. My brother doesn’t go next to my mom. My sister doesn’t go next to my mom because we’re just so nervous about it. I’ve got an older brother that’s 60 years old. … I literally have family members that are in a space where my aunt is fighting for her life. And her son just passed away while she’s in an induced coma. She doesn’t even know. My family is just like on pins and needles with what’s going on.
DID YOU REACH OUT TO THE NBA ABOUT COVID-19? Stephon Marbury: I sent [NBA commissioner] Adam Silver an email March 8. I said in the email, ‘You guys got to stop.’ I said, ‘This is not good. You got, like, 17,000, 18,000 people going to games and people don’t know if they’re infected or not. This could happen. One of the basketball players can get infected. Anything can happen.’ He was like, ‘Stephon, thank you for so much for sending me this email.’ My concern is for everybody. It’s bigger than basketball. You got guys getting sick and they can’t play. I mean, what’s the use? There is no point or no purpose. I think that it’s going to be a really big challenge for the [NBA] season to get going this year.
Storyline: Coronavirus
March 31, 2020 | 2:03 pm EDT Update
SB NATION: I’ll begin with a question I find myself asking just about everyone I talk to these days: How are you staying safe? And, did you consider traveling home once the NBA allowed its players to do so, or just bunker down and stay put? PAT CONNAUGHTON: I stayed in Milwaukee. I tried to look at it from a variety of different angles. For me, I’m from the Boston area and Massachusetts was arguably hit worse than the majority of other places, so going home didn’t really make sense for me, for my own health but also for the safety of my family. We’re fortunate to be in the NBA. We might as well stay close to our team just in case, God forbid something does happen and we need access to doctors, we have team doctors. If we need access to food for some reason, the chefs are trying to help us out when they can. There’s different things that I think teams are doing to help their players that stick around.
Storyline: Coronavirus
SB: Being part of such a special season with the Bucks, how often do you think about the possibility that the season is over, and how you might never get an opportunity to finish what you started? How difficult would that be, given all the hard work that was put in and what the expectations were? PAT CONNAUGHTON: It’s tough because you look at it from a few different lenses. You think seasons like this don’t come along every year, so if it ends that’s gonna suck. To be honest. But when you look at it from the lens of an athlete you’re like we, as a team, are very good. What is preventing us from doing it again next year? Obviously we would be disappointed, we’re having a great year, etc. But maybe it just makes us hungrier next year. Maybe it’s fuel on the fire, as opposed to something else. Giannis will be a year older, a year more skilled. We’ll all be getting better. If you look at it that way you can throw some positive light to it.
PAT CONNAUGHTON: The other light you look at it, just being open and honest, there are guys that are on contract years. There are guys that, I mean, personally I don’t have a technical contract for next year or anything. So you look at it like how does it affect free agency? How does it affect the salary cap? What does our team look like next year if the season were to end and not continue, and the playoffs weren’t to happen and there weren’t a champion to be crowned. I think all of those are unknown. I could sit here for 24 straight hours and put down a sheet of paper, pros, cons, all these different scenarios, but I don’t think that does me any good. We don’t know. Nobody knows. The NBA is full of much smarter people than myself. Adam Silver is great. The owners are all very smart guys. The general managers are very smart guys. Obviously the player’s union, Michelle. Chris Paul. All them are very smart. I believe the best interest of as many players as possible and all the teams and the league itself will be what’s most important and what will be accomplished. So for me to worry about those sorts of things, sure, but at the same time it’s not gonna help me. I’m not gonna figure out, sitting in this apartment in the next month and a half, what the answers are.
March 31, 2020 | 12:24 pm EDT Update
Isaiah Thomas: “I was a junior when I entered the draft. I had a year of eligibility left. I wrote down my pros and cons — all the good things by putting my name in the draft and all the negative things that could possibly happen, which can go from not getting drafted to going in the second round to getting drafted and then there being a lockout and no money coming in, and not knowing what to do next. My final decision was that I’m going to just bet on myself. I’ll figure things out. I just felt like college wasn’t going to do anything for me going forward. But on the back end of things, yes, the lockout was on my mind.”
March 31, 2020 | 10:36 am EDT Update
Borrego liked the contrast of styles: the run-and-gun Nuggets against the behemoth Lakers, starting the Pau Gasol-Andrew Bynum mega-frontcourt. Bynum averaged 17 points and 12 rebounds per game for the series, and put up a triple-double — including 10 blocked shots — in the Lakers’ Game 1 win. “A lot of our guys probably don’t even know Andrew Bynum,” Borrego said. The series was also incredibly physical. The offensive teams rebounded almost 37% of all misses, a mark that would lead the league today by a laughable margin. The teams combined for 47 offensive rebounds in the Lakers’ 96-87 win in Game 7; Gasol had six — all in a row — on one pivotal fourth-quarter possession. “Part of this is to show them what physical playoff basketball looks like,” Borrego said. “This is where we want to get to someday. Let’s study it.”
All the players said they enjoyed learning more about the classic NBA characters in that series. Obviously, today’s players love watching peak Bryant — now more than ever. Bynum has become something of a curiosity. “People forget how good Bynum was,” Zeller said. “He was a monster.” Caleb Martin said he was surprised at the speed and athleticism of a young Danilo Gallinari, playing almost full time as a wing. “You know of these guys, but you never sit down and actually watch them play a full game,” Cody Martin said.
On a recent episode of The Lake Lake Show podcast, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report suggested that “it could be three or four years until the league is back in balance”. Pincus also went into depth on how the NBA will return. Where he stated that the league are considering canceling games. Which will create financial implications for players, even more so the high-end stars like LeBron James. “Players typically get paid on the 1st and 15th of every month and the 1st would be a full check. But the league hasn’t committed to the 15th… it means they’re considering canceling games. Because by the rules, they can’t dock players for games that are rescheduled. They can only dock from players for games that are canceled.”
Storyline: Coronavirus
“If they were going down that path they might start with canceling a few games. Why cancel a lot, right? There’s no reason to until you have a better feel. I could see them canceling 3 games and start deducting 3 games worth of money from each player’s check. For someone like LeBron James, that’s in the neighbourhood of $400,000 per game. So you’re talking about deducting $1.2 million from LeBron’s check. So it’s not a small amount.”
March 31, 2020 | 7:46 am EDT Update
ESPN’s NBA insider Brian Windhorst, on his recent podcast, expressed his thoughts what the offseason will most likely bring to big name free-agent DeMarcus Cousins. “I think DeMarcus Cousins is looking at a make good contract, even if it’s more than a minimum. I think that after a series of injuries he’s had, all of which indicates that he’s coming back too fast, doing too much, he needs even more time of coming back from this. He’s gonna have a job in the league, but I don’t think it’s gonna be a big money,” the NBA insider said.
The Brooklyn Nets are expected to continue to reshape their roster around Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. “I believe they have telegraphed they intend to use some of their young talent to acquire a third star along with Kyrie and Durant,” said Brian Windhorst. “Now, we can get enter a healthy debate here about whether Caris LeVert is that third star and they make the decision that he is. But my feel reading the tea leaves, paying attention to what Sean Marks has said and also being aware of some conversations they had at the trade deadline, which was sticking the toe in the water on some things, I think they’re going to swing for the fences whenever the season comes. They’re going to have to potentially hire a coach that is going to help them do that.”
Joe Harris is a pending free agent, one who likely will get a big raise this summer. But the sharpshooter wants to re-sign with the Nets, partly to take a shot at a title playing alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. “Yeah, definitely! Why wouldn’t you?” Harris asked rhetorically before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Storyline: Joe Harris Free Agency
On the Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis duo: Jason Terry: “They’re still headed down as one of the all-time dynamic duos in the history of the game, if they continue to win and then have success in the playoffs, and hopefully take us to another NBA finals and win a championship. Because they’re so young. When you have two young stars as KP and Luka, and the talent that they possess, they have yet to really reach their full potential and I think the chemistry that they’ve gained this season by playing together is going to continue to grow.
Jason Terry: “KP is learning that ‘hey maybe it might not be at the four position, maybe at the five position where I can be most dangerous and effective.’ Luka is also understanding ‘hey I might not have to take over an entire ball game, I can kind of conserve my energy and be the closer very similar to what Dirk [Nowitzki] was and kind of let KP get off early in games.
Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic was all set to make his triumphant return on Sunday, Mar. 15 against the Houston Rockets. It was a home game for the Blazers. An early matinee game on national television. It was 10 days away from Nurk’s one-year mark of his leg injury. And to the Bosnian Beast, it was a “perfect” game to make his debut for the 2019-20 season. In choosing that day to return, it was a collective effort by Nurkic’s camp along with the entire Trail Blazers organization. In a recent interview with NBC Sports Northwest’s Trail Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes, Nurk detailed what went into the decision making of that game.
Bosnia-Herzegovina is 9 hours ahead of Portland, OR; thus, the timing of a noon tip-off in Rip City also worked out great for his family and friends back home. It was an earlier game Sunday, and of course, I need to look [out] for my people back home. It was perfect for them too. It was like 8:30pm back home. So, everybody was pretty much set up and I thought it was a really good game because it was [a] home game and I really wanted to play [at] home first. — Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic told our Dwight Jaynes
After his teenage brother Dorian tragically died of heart disease, Dawkins tapped into his basketball network to pay for a memorial and an AAU team in Dorian’s memory. He says he quickly raised more than a hundred thousand dollars from some of the most important people in the sport. His network mattered. Before long, NBA agent Andy Miller noticed Dawkins and hired him. Fast forward a few years and Dawkins is at the NBA draft, barely legal to drink, sitting in the green room with Miller and Elfrid Payton’s family. Rodney Hood, Fred VanVleet … Dawkins was instrumental in directing their careers, in the belly of the basketball beast. “Everybody knew Andy was paying players,” Dawkins says in “The Scheme.” “Andy’s been paying players since I was born. It wasn’t, like, a secret.”
The president of the Spanish Basketball Federation, Jorge Garbajosa, wants to ensure the future of the National Team bench and for this, a new contract extension could be offered to Sergio Scariolo until 2024, according to AS.com. The Italian coach’s agreement with the Federation would come to an end after the 2020 Olympics. However, with the current worldwide health crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the postponement of the Games in Tokyo until 2021, a new scenario is created.
Storyline: Olympic Games
Every bit of help is key amidst this coronavirus pandemic, whether it’s food, cash or medical supplies. The Nets, Barclays Center and Alibaba — all owned by Joe Tsai — have been providing all of the above. With live sports shut down and teams and arenas getting squeezed economically, many hourly workers have been laid off or face pay cuts. But Nets and Barclays Center employees are getting the same checks they would have if they’d worked events as scheduled through the end of May. And it’s not just NBA games, but concerts, Islanders games, college basketball like the A-10 tourney and even graduations. A source familiar with the unions and the overall process told The Post the checks cut could end up totaling an estimated $6 million.
“We discussed supplies. I want to thank Michael Evans from Alibaba, who is here with us today,” Cuomo said at Monday’s press briefing. “I want to thank Elizabeth Jennings [the chief of staff] from the Asia Society, who is here with us today, who are helping us source supplies.“We’re in a situation where you have 50 states all competing for supplies, the federal government is now also competing for supplies, private hospitals are also competing for supplies. We’ve created a situation where you literally have hundreds of entities looking to buy the same exact materials basically from the same place, which is China.”
ABC/ESPN’s highly anticipated 10-part Michael Jordan documentary, “The Last Dance,” is being moved up to April, The Post has learned. Sources said the start date will be Sunday, April 19. It was originally slated for June. ABC/ESPN plans to make an announcement on “Good Morning America” on Tuesday, according to sources.
There are a couple possible reasons for the delay. The first is obviously coronavirus. We talked before about the delays and pushbacks we’d see in production with factories in China being shut down over the virus. Some of those are up and running again, though, so this might not be the case. The second is Nike still might not know what direction they want to go in with Kobe’s line — especially since resellers gobbled it up. Coming up with a strategy for the future of the line is imperative.
It looks like a facsimile of the Kobe VI plastered on top of the LeBron XIII lows. It’s a clunky and low cut which is never really a good combination for a hoop shoe. It’s important for Nike to get things right with Antetokounmpo because of his status in the landscape.of his sport now and going forward. Getring it right with him isn’t as easy as it seems. Giannis is ostensibly a big man with guard skills — even more so than LeBron James. On the other side, Zion Williamson is the future of Jordan Brand and he has the same problem.
March 30, 2020 | 9:31 pm EDT Update
The Utah Sports Commission recognized Gobert for his excellence on the court, as well as his impact on the state of Utah. Gobert has established Rudy’s Kids Foundation which supports charities that directly impact the lives of youth in Utah, as well as a program that donates money to ShelterKids and Salt Lake County Youth Services, and the Utah Refugee Connection with every blocked shot Gobert records on the floor.
Khem Birch was one of the key pieces of Canada’s squad during the 2019 FIBA World Cup, and felt playing under Nurse did wonders for his professional development. After spending some time learning from him, Birch now understands why Nurse is viewed as one of the NBA’s top coaches. “Team Canada has a lot of potential, especially with coach Nurse. With the roster we had, I think he did a really good job, and I imagine if we had all our guys I think we would have won the whole thing,” Birch said during an interview on Sportsnet 590 The Fan’s Good Show Monday.