The New Orleans Pelicans came away the big winners in Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery, landing the top pick and putting themselves in position to land Duke’s Zion Williamson, the consensus top player in the draft.
Per The Inquisitr, the Pelicans’ win led some NBA observers to believe that the Pelicans’ Anthony Davis would rescind his trade request and decide to remain in New Orleans. In lieu of that, the landing of the top pick might give the Pelicans more leverage, as the team’s new front office regime approaches trade talks involving Davis.
However, word soon emerged after the lottery that Davis still would like to be traded. Per Shams Charania of The Athletic on Twitter, Davis’ “stance on a trade has not changed,” although the Pelicans’ landing of the top pick “could ease [the] potential trade” of Davis.
Davis announced publicly in January that he would not be re-signing with the Pelicans and that he was requesting a trade, over a year ahead of his potential free agency in the summer of 2020. The Pelicans engaged in trade talks with multiple teams before the February trade deadline, but did not reach a deal, and Davis continued to play for New Orleans for the rest of the season.
The Pelicans’ new general manager, David Griffin, said when he was hired that he would attempt to talk Davis into staying, but it doesn’t appear his efforts have had any success. It would, after all, be awkward for Davis, who had vocally requested a trade out of New Orleans, to reverse course and go back to the team.
The New Orleans Pelicans had a 6% shot at the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. And then they got lucky. It might have changed the entire league if they’re able to keep Anthony Davis. https://t.co/TOxdnZG8r8
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) May 15, 2019
With Williamson (presumably) in the fold, the Pelicans will be able to pursue trade packages, in a Davis deal, for players complementary to their incoming star, while also trying to sell free agents on joining the rookie in New Orleans.
Two teams that have been frequently mentioned as Davis destinations, the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers, landed the third and fourth picks in the draft, respectively, and could also offer those picks as part of a potential trade for Davis. With the Lakers in particular, the addition of that pick could alter the dynamic from last February, when the Pelicans did not accept any of the Lakers’ offers for Davis. Both teams, though, are now led by different front office decision makers.
Any team acquiring Davis will be eligible to sign him to a “supermax” contract extension this summer.