When Anthony Davis made his trade request public earlier this year, the Los Angeles Lakers were instantly named as a favorite to acquire the All-NBA big man, as noted by NBC Sports Bay Area. But with the Lakers failing to land Davis before the February trade deadline hit, it now appears to be a wide-open race for the New Orleans Pelicans superstar heading into the 2019 offseason. As speculated in a recent report, that race could be won by the New York Knicks if their rumored free agency plans play out as expected.
In an article that focused on the NBA teams with the most “breakout potential” for the 2019-20 season, Bleacher Report‘s Dan Favale listed the Knicks as a team looking at an “all-or-nothing value proposition” in the run-up to the summer. At the moment, New York has enough salary cap space to sign two free agents to maximum contracts. However, Favale warned that if the Knicks strike out in their attempts to sign such players, they could be left with a weak lineup that might not win more than 25 games even if they land the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and use it on Duke forward Zion Williamson.
As further noted, the New York Knicks might not have to worry too much about not being able to sign any top-tier talents in free agency, as the team is widely expected to sign Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant and/or Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving this summer. According to Favale, adding one or both prospective free agents could give New York a good chance of adding a third superstar in Davis, who, as noted by Forbes, previously listed the Knicks among his preferred trade destinations.
“Bagging one or both of them instantly ushers the Knicks to the forefront of the Anthony Davis sweepstakes—provided their draft position doesn’t bomb during the lottery,” Favale predicted. “Even if they don’t have the asset juice to also get him, netting a single top-10 talent equips them to crash the Eastern Conference playoff discussion.”
Furthermore, Favale wrote in his entry for the Lakers that “not many” observers currently expect the Pelicans to entertain further trade offers from Los Angeles, even if they offer their best possible package of players for the 26-year-old forward/center.
If the Knicks make an offer for Davis, one of the more likely scenarios could involve New York trading young up-and-comers such as Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, or Allonzo Trier, as well as this year’s first-round pick, to New Orleans. Per ESPN‘s Ian Begley, such a deal could potentially be “enticing” to the Pelicans, especially if the Knicks get to pick first overall in next month’s draft and select Zion Williamson. However, Begley noted that there is “no consensus” that the Knicks will definitely include their 2019 first-round pick in a trade for Davis. He added that it would also be important for the organization to sign some veteran players to complement any “incoming stars.”