Despite the New Orleans Pelicans’ best efforts to convince Anthony Davis to reconsider his earlier trade request, whispers around the league still suggest that the superstar big man could be headed elsewhere in the summer. And, if a new report is to be believed, the Pelicans could be ready to trade Davis as soon as next month, right before the NBA’s annual rookie draft takes place on June 20.
As cited by 24/7 Sports, Pelicans beat writer Andrew Lopez of The Times-Picayune appeared on ESPN LA 710’s Mason & Ireland on Thursday, where he said that New Orleans is likely to “[agree] upon” a trade before the 2019 NBA Draft. As there are a number of NBA teams that are not legally allowed to execute a trade until June 30 or would rather wait until then for “salary cap purposes,” 24/7 Sports clarified that the possibility of a trade actually getting finalized on draft night is far from guaranteed. Still, the publication noted that Lopez expects an offer to be agreed upon by the time New Orleans makes the first overall selection in the draft.
Regarding the teams that could most likely acquire Davis, Lopez reportedly did not offer any information on that matter. However, he noted that the Pelicans, behind vice president of basketball operations David Griffin, will choose the suitor whose trade package would be best for the team. Despite recent rumors suggesting that the Pelicans are specifically refusing to trade Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers, Lopez reportedly noted that Griffin is “not operating under a specific directive from ownership” to avoid a deal with the Lakers, who notably failed to acquire the All-Star big man before the February trade deadline.
Commenting on the new rumors regarding the Pelicans and Anthony Davis, 24/7 Sports wrote that such an arrangement would work in New Orleans’ favor “on several levels.” Mainly, this would let the Pelicans make use of any draft picks they acquire, instead of allowing these picks to lose value because they are “tied to specific players.”
Furthermore, the rumored arrangement would give the Pelicans — and whichever team may end up with Davis — more direction in free agency, as New Orleans could shift their attention to rebuilding their roster, while the team that acquires Davis could take advantage of his presence to attract top free agents.
The new update from The Times-Picayune’s Lopez comes just one day after it was reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Davis and the Pelicans are expected to continue discussions regarding his future with the team, as previously documented by The Inquisitr. Despite that, a subsequent tweet from Shams Charania of The Athletic claimed that it’s “highly unlikely” Davis would back out of the trade request he made in January.