Before the February NBA trade deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers emerged as the top trade destination for Anthony Davis when he informed the New Orleans Pelicans, through his agent Rich Paul, that he wants to be traded to a team where he can consistently win and contend for the NBA championship title. However, despite receiving interesting offers from several NBA teams, the Pelicans decided to be patient, believing that they could get a better return if they deal Davis in the 2019 NBA offseason.
The Lakers are still expected to resume their trade negotiation with the Pelicans next summer, but according to Marc J. Spears of ESPN (transcribed by NBC Sports), New Orleans won’t let Anthony Davis team up with LeBron James in Los Angeles.
“I have been told that there’s no way Anthony Davis is coming here, through the Pelicans,” Spears said on ESPN, filming in Los Angeles. “They’re just not going to do it.”
Spears’ report isn’t surprising at all given by the things that happened between the Lakers and the Pelicans before the February NBA trade deadline. After their failed acquisition of Anthony Davis, Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson said that he didn’t think that the Pelicans negotiated in good faith. Meanwhile, the Pelicans were reportedly frustrated about how public the Lakers made the trade discussions involving Davis.
The Lakers undeniably have interesting assets that could help the Pelicans speed up the rebuilding process in the post-Anthony Davis era. In their last attempt to land Davis before the February NBA trade deadline, the Lakers have expressed their willingness to send a package including Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart to New Orleans. However, it does not mean that the Pelicans won’t receive the same or better offer for Davis, especially in the 2019 NBA offseason when the Boston Celtics are finally expected to join the bidding.
Celtics President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Danny Ainge hasn’t given the Pelicans any assurance regarding a specific trade package, but he made it known to the entire league that no one on their roster is untouchable next summer. In a potential deal involving Anthony Davis, the Pelicans are expected to demand a trade package centered on Jayson Tatum, the former No. 3 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
However, the Celtics’ pursuit of Anthony Davis will depend on Kyrie Irving’s decision in the 2019 NBA free agency. If they fail to re-sign Irving, the Celtics are unlikely to go all-in for Davis which could force the Pelicans to reconsider their decision not to trade the All-Star center to the Lakers.