Despite receiving plenty of interesting offers before the February NBA trade deadline, the New Orleans Pelicans decided to keep All-Star center Anthony Davis for the rest of the 2018-19 NBA season, believing that they could get better trade packages next summer. Having an interesting collection of young players, including Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Terry Rozier, and a plethora of future first-round picks, the Boston Celtics are emerging as the top trade destination for the 26-year-old big man in the 2019 NBA offseason.
However, the Pelicans didn’t wait for the summer of 2019 to deal Davis just for the Celtics, but they also want to know which team will land the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. If the ping-pong balls end up favoring the New York Knicks in next month’s draft lottery, Nolan Jensen of Fansided’s Pelican Debrief suggested that they could use the top selection as the main trade chip to acquire Davis from the Pelicans next summer.
“Instead of waiting for your lottery pick to blossom and develop into pre-draft expectations (which is not sure thing, as per Andrew Wiggins), you could acquire the likes of an Anthony Davis—who’s still only at the age of twenty-five. [sic] The prospect is very appealing. With the theoretical additions of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, the Knicks could be looking to compete for an NBA title sooner than later. Or Free Agency could bomb for the Knicks, and they max out second-tier stars once again. Trading for Davis is a surefire way to make them relevant instantly.”
In the proposed trade deal by Pelican Debrief, the Knicks will be sending Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, their own 2019 first-round pick, an unprotected 2021 first-round pick, and a 2023 protected first-round pick to the Pelicans in exchange for Anthony Davis and Solomon Hill. The Knicks will need to add more players in order to match the Pelicans’ outgoing salary.
Zion Williamson will undeniably an intriguing acquisition for the Knicks, but with their goal to immediately return to title contention, sending a trade package centered on the No. 1 overall pick for Anthony Davis makes more sense. If they succeed in acquiring Davis before the 2019 NBA free agency period, the Knicks will become a more attractive destination for incoming free agent superstars like Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors and Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics.
The deal will not only be potentially beneficial for the Knicks but also for the Pelicans. In exchange for the face of the franchise, the Pelicans will be receiving young and promising players and future first-round picks that will enable them to speed up the rebuilding process in what could likely be the post-Anthony Davis era.