Free agency will begin in a little less than three weeks, and as most NBA fans will be excited to see which teams sign which players, the Anthony Davis trade rumors have been reawakened and have been swirling around much more frequently.
AD to LA?
Many NBA reporters have reported that the Lakers and Pelicans were in deep discussion to get a deal done. All scenarios have included the #4 overall pick in the draft. However, New Orleans wants forward Kyle Kuzma included in a deal, while the Lakers refuse to trade him. The Pelicans also want a 3rd team included in the trade, so they can acquire a veteran star along with all the young assets and picks. Adrian Wojnaroski from ESPN has reported that the 3rd team may be the Bulls or Wizards. The Pelicans would prefer to acquire veteran guard Bradley Beal from the Wizards, as the Lakers only have a single pick and a few young players to offer. The Bulls could possibly trade the 7th overall pick for Lonzo Ball, as they are desperate for a point guard. The Pelicans could also potentially receive Zach Lavine from the Bulls.
Acquiring Anthony Davis not only gives the Lakers one of the best big men in the league, but it also helps attract more free agents to the city. For now, the Lakers are a team that missed the playoffs, despite all the talent they have. That doesn’t look very attractive to many free agents. Seeing LeBron and Davis together would attract many free agents, the ones who would be willing to share the ball with them anyway.
It has been recently announced that the Lakes have genuine interest in free agent Jimmy Butler, as he has declined his player option to test free agency. While it seems Kyrie Irving is close to signing with the Nets, his mind could be easily changed soon if he decides to chase another ring. Kemba Walker loves the city of Charlotte, but should he desire to build a legacy, he could easily sign with LA. There are many chances for Los Angeles this off season, and they cannot fail as they have in the past.
AD to Boston?
The Celtics are the other team aggressively trying to land Davis. However Davis in Boston seems very unlikely. AD’s dad himself said he would never want to see his son in a Celtics jersey. Davis himself requested to his agent, Rich Paul, that he be traded to the Lakers. Rich Paul also warned the Celtics that trading for Davis wouldn’t be wise, as he would leave right after the season, as he would become a free agent.
Despite all of these obstacles, Danny Ainge believes that he could make Anthony love the city of Boston, as he was able to do with Kevin Garnett. However, Ainge should be careful when pursuing AD. The Pelicans would reasonably require Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to be included in any scenario. Ainge would also have to give up picks, as they would minimize the amount of players having to be offered. All of these assets Ainge is giving up would most likely be with Boston for a while, while AD would leave after playing only one season.
This is a risky move for Ainge; should a deal be agreed upon, and Davis leaves after one year, the Celtics would most likely have to go into rebuild mode, something they want to avoid. The only upside Anthony Davis would provide to the Celtics is that he could possibly help convince Kyrie Irving to stay. But Kyrie already seems like he’s decided where he wants to go. Boston shouldn’t attempt an Anthony Davis trade, as it would be a loss to them.
What should New Orleans do?
The Pelicans must Trade Davis. Yes, must. After the 2019-2020 season, Davis will walk straight out the door and will be gone to a team of his desire. Trading him before the deadline will allow New Orleans to receive assets to replace Davis, rather than be left with nothing when he leaves. Should they want the Lakers 4th pick, it would benefit them to get a deal done before the draft, so they have the liberty of who they should choose. Pelicans will have to be quick, as the draft is in less than a week from now.