It was within seconds of the New Orleans Pelicans winning the NBA Draft Lottery and the chance to snag generational talent Zion Williamson that the rumors started — would Anthony Davis now be rescinding his trade demand and staying with what could be an immediate Western Conference contender?
The consensus appeared to be yes.
The Pelicans were selected for the top overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, where the Duke big man will be waiting. New Orleans came into Tuesday with just 6 percent odds of snagging the top pick, the sixth-highest. The New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Phoenix Suns were all top with 14 percent odds.
Davis had publicly demanded a trade from the Pelicans earlier this season, but New Orleans never pulled the trigger in search of the proper return. It looked to many as if the Draft Lottery would be the impetus to finally get Davis traded. Going into Tuesday’s selection, many had expected the New York Knicks to grab the top overall pick in the draft and trade it to the Pelicans for Davis.
“The Knicks getting the number one overall pick impacts the Anthony Davis potential trade talks. I’m told if the Knicks get the No. 1 overall pick, they would then shift their focus toward a potential deal for Anthony Davis,” wrote Stadium’s Shams Charania via Twitter.
“…There might not be another team out there that has a better package than the Knicks if they were able to get that No. 1 overall pick.”
Now, the Pelicans won’t have to part with anything at all in order to land Zion Williamson, and there were immediate rumors that Davis could be convinced to stay now that the Pelicans appear to be a contender in the making.
Are you staying in NOLA if you’re Anthony Davis? ???? pic.twitter.com/93wxCWUOPR
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) May 15, 2019
Wow, Anthony Davis going to rescind his trade request now? Zion’s headed to the Big Easy. Congrats New Orleans sports fans. Y’all were due a break.
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) May 15, 2019
It appeared to be more than just idle rumors. The Pelicans vice president of basketball operations, David Griffin, wouldn’t tip the team’s hand about who would be selected, but did say that the top overall pick would be important in bringing Anthony Davis back on board.
Griffin won't talk about who he will select with the No. 1 pick, but he did say it should help with potentially recutting Anthony Davis:
"Elite talent likes to play with elite talent"
— Will Guillory (@WillGuillory) May 15, 2019
It was not immediately clear if the New Orleans Pelicans were planning to talk with Anthony Davis or had a plan to keep him on board now that Zion Williamson will likely be joining him, but either way it should drastically change the trajectory of trade rumors and could make the asking price that much higher now that the Pelicans may be less inclined to trade him.