Less than two weeks before the February NBA trade deadline, Anthony Davis has informed the New Orleans Pelicans that he has no intention of signing the massive contract extension they plan to offer next summer. Davis reportedly wanted to be traded to a team where he can consistently win and contend for the NBA championship title.
If the Pelicans want to undergo a full-scale rebuild, it’s hard to see a team that can beat what the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics can offer for Anthony Davis. However, if the Pelicans decide to remain competitive in the post-Davis era, teams like the San Antonio Spurs could come in play. According to Dan Favale of Bleacher Report, the Spurs and the Pelicans may consider engaging in a superstar-for-superstar trade involving Davis and DeMar DeRozan.
“DeMar DeRozan’s contract is fine for a team trying to contend for playoff berths now. All-Star players with two years left on their deal are hard to find. He gives the Pelicans a level of competitive security they won’t get with most other offers. Accepting him as the primary return would not be the most prudent play. It makes more sense for the Pelicans to net a collection of long-term assets and start over. But teams do not rebuild in a vacuum. Not every franchise can navigate a grueling, years-long reset. Having another brand name will mean more to the New Orleans market than most others.”
The Pelicans are open to trading Anthony Davis to the Lakers -- but it would come at a hefty cost. We'll keep updating this story as it develops. https://t.co/jfvUcIuiDz— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) January 28, 2019
However, though they match each other’s salaries, DeMar DeRozan, alone, won’t be enough compensation for a player of Anthony Davis’ caliber. The Spurs will be needing to add sweeteners to further convince the Pelicans to send Davis to San Antonio. In the proposed trade deal by Bleacher Report, the Spurs will be trading DeRozan, Bryn Forbes, Lonnie Walker IV, and two 2019 first-round picks to the Pelicans for Davis, Tim Frazier, and Wesley Johnson. The deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine.
The deal will be beneficial for the Pelicans as it would help remain competitive while acquiring players who could be part of their long-term future. The Pelicans could use the future draft picks in another trade or in adding more young and promising talents on their roster. Meanwhile, the acquisition of Anthony Davis will undeniably strengthen the Spurs’ chance of making a deep playoff run this season.
However, trading for Davis comes with a huge risk, especially if the Spurs can’t get an assurance that he intends to stay long-term in San Antonio. Davis has a player option on his contract that will enable him to choose his preferred destination as an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2020.