The story is well-known by now — New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis, before the trading deadline in February, announced that he would not be re-signing with the Pelicans, and requested a trade. The Pelicans negotiated for the next few weeks with the Los Angeles Lakers, but reports indicated New Orleans wasn’t particularly inclined to trade Davis to the Lakers specifically, and Davis was ultimately not traded.
Since then, much has changed. Davis played the rest of the season with the Pelicans, but that team fired their general manager, Dell Demps, not long after the deadline. On the Lakers’ side, team executive Magic Johnson resigned at the end of the season, while they also parted ways with coach Luke Walton. Then, in Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery, the Pelicans landed the top pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, while the Lakers will pick fourth. This puts New Orleans in position to draft Zion Williamson, while the Lakers will have a trade asset that they didn’t have last winter.
However, per Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the Pelicans still would prefer not to trade Davis to the Lakers.
“From what I understand, the Pelicans are not interested in making a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers,” Windhorst said on television Wednesday.
Windhorst added that the Pelicans might have been interested had the Lakers landed the top overall pick, although New Orleans ended up winning the lottery themselves. Reports after the lottery have indicated that the Pelicans will attempt to talk Davis into rescinding his trade demand and staying in New Orleans with Williamson, but that Davis does not appear interested in doing so.
Windhorst added that assuming the Pelicans are planning to “go all young and build around Zion,” the New York Knicks will likely have the ability to put together the best package for Davis. They could offer the third pick in this year’s draft — which could be used on Williamson’s college teammate R.J. Barrett — as well as the first-round picks obtained from Dallas in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, along with young players on the Knicks’ current roster such as Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, and/or Dennis Smith Jr.
The Knicks, meanwhile, could then build around Davis, along with whichever free agents they sign this offseason. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have been heavily rumored to sign with the Knicks as free agents this offseason. Davis, per reports in February in The New York Times and elsewhere, would be interested in signing an extension with the Knicks, should he be traded there this offseason.