The NBA Draft Lottery has come and gone, and with the Los Angeles Lakers landing the fourth overall pick, speculation is rife once again that they could trade for New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis by packaging this draft pick with their young core players. The Boston Celtics and New York Knicks also remain in the equation as likely candidates to acquire Davis in the 2019 offseason. However, a new report suggests that the Toronto Raptors could also make a plausible offer for Davis, provided one important condition is met.
On Thursday, Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale put together a list of “updated” trade package ideas for Davis following Tuesday’s Draft Lottery. While the usual suspects — the Lakers, Celtics, and Knicks — were fully featured, the Raptors were also included toward the end of the list as a dark horse of sorts. According to Favale, the Raptors look like a “tantalizing destination” for Davis, as the team could send three key contributors to the Pelicans — OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, and Serge Ibaka — and a 2021 first-round pick with top-three protection in exchange for the 26-year-old All-NBA forward/center.
As further noted, such a trade would only be feasible “on and or after” draft night on June 20, and only if Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard commits to re-signing with Toronto after a successful first season with the team. However, it’s still far from certain whether Leonard will choose to remain a Raptor or not, as multiple rumors have swirled about the two-time Defensive Player of the Year opting to join the hometown Los Angeles Clippers instead.
“I think the Clippers are in the driver’s seat [for Leonard],” ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne was quoted as saying. “I’ve thought that for a long time just because he seems to be a guy who wants his own team.”
Despite Shelburne’s prediction that Leonard will want to come home to the Clippers this summer, Bleacher Report’s Favale wrote that even “bird’s eye views” can be wrong, especially since Leonard is fresh off hitting a buzzer-beater in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals that helped the Raptors edge the Philadelphia 76ers. Favale added that Toronto could still promise Leonard “one of the best winning situations” even if the Raptors lose their ongoing Eastern Conference Finals series against the Milwaukee Bucks.
“Going after Davis is a sales pitch to Leonard by itself,” Favale continued. “The Raptors can’t fork over the moon without a guarantee he’ll return, but the two parties can reach a mutual understanding: Get Davis, and Leonard stays put. Or Leonard could re-sign independent of Toronto’s interest in Davis.”
Talking about the potential impact of the Raptors’ suggested trade package for Davis, Favale wrote that it would be a “win” for the Pelicans if they acquire Anunoby, a promising young wingman with two years remaining on his rookie contract, and veteran big man Ibaka, whose contract will be expiring in the summer of 2020. As for Siakam, who enjoyed a breakout season as a second-year NBA power forward, Favale opined that he could be a good acquisition for New Orleans if it “means keeping him long-term.”
All in all, Favale concluded by saying that the Lakers and the Knicks won’t be able to beat the theoretical offer he suggested for the Raptors. While Favale acknowledged that the Celtics could be the only team to offer something better than Toronto, the Bleacher Report contributor added that Siakam is still the “best individual player” the Pelicans could get in a trade package for Anthony Davis.