The news Monday morning that star center Anthony Davis has requested a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans has set off a seemingly never-ending series of rumors about potential trades for the dynamic big man. But the most frequently mentioned destination has been the Los Angeles Lakers.
Davis and the Lakers’ current star, LeBron James, share an agent, Rich Paul, and James has been expected to draw a second-star player ever since he arrived on the team last summer. The Lakers have also assembled a large group of young players who would serve as a natural package going to another team in exchange for a more established star.
While Davis, when he made his official trade demand Monday, did not list a preferred destination, but a new report says that Davis’ preferred team is, in fact, the Lakers.
According to an ESPN report by ace NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski, which cited multiple league sources, Davis and his agent, Rich Paul, are “expected to soon deliver word throughout the league” that Davis not only prefers a trade to the Lakers but that Davis would only re-sign with the Lakers when he reaches free agency in the summer of 2020.
Such a declaration would not be binding and would not stop a non-Lakers team from trading for Davis, with the intention of trying to convince Davis to stay with them beyond his free agency. That’s what happened in the summer of 2017 when Paul George informed his then-team, the Indiana Pacers, that he would not re-sign with them and requested a trade to his hometown of Los Angeles. The Pacers instead traded George to the Oklahoma City Thunder, where George ended up signing long term last offseason.
Also, a team in win-now mode could trade for Davis now with the intention of making playoff runs with him the next two years, without necessarily pushing to re-sign him beyond then.
ESPN's story on the developing landscape and positioning for a possible Anthony Davis trade. https://t.co/gkbykmohlV
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 29, 2019
Meanwhile, the Pelicans are free to take the best offer, which could mean keeping Davis for the rest of the season and waiting for the offseason when more teams could be in the market.
Keith Pompey, a reporter who covers the 76ers for the Philadelphia Daily News, is in Los Angeles for the Sixers’ game against the Lakers and pointed out on Twitter that the main topic on sports radio in Los Angeles is the possibility of Davis coming to the Lakers, even though another local team, the Rams, are playing in the Super Bowl on Sunday.