Although Anthony Davis remains under contract with the Pelicans through at least 2020, rival NBA executives believe he could be up for grabs for a larger-market team before then, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
Davis will be eligible for a five-year, super-max contract extension as of July 2019. If he passes on that extension – which some executives believe he might, per Haynes – the Pelicans could be forced to consider the possibility of trading the star big man before he gets the opportunity to opt out in 2020.
The Celtics, Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, and Warriors are among the big-market teams that will be monitoring Davis’ situation this year and next, sources tell Haynes.
Whenever he has been asked about his future, Davis has dismissed the idea that he wants to play anywhere but New Orleans. However, as Haynes notes, Davis’ top priority is to win, so the Pelicans will be under pressure to continue building a roster that can help the former first overall pick achieve that goal.
“Of course, I know that in order to win games, a lot of pressure is going to be on me,” Davis said after a loss to the Warriors this week. “I don’t have a good game and we lose. So, I got to play almost perfect every night to give us a chance to win.
“But my teammates do a great job,” he continued. “Even the games I didn’t play, those guys have been battling night in and night out to get victories. … I don’t try to put too much pressure on myself, but I know it’s there.
While the speculation about Davis isn’t expected to subside, the five-time All-Star knows it comes with the territory, suggesting he’s tuning out the noise and focusing on what he can control on the court. He also tells Haynes that his teammates, who “do as much as possible to help me,” don’t view his contract situation as a distraction.
“Nah, my team doesn’t care. They cherish the moments that they have with me,” Davis said. “Every day we try to put in the work to be a great team. They hear it, I hear it. Everybody hears it. It’s hard not to. But we’re focused on what we have to do this year. We’re trying to beat teams like the Warriors and get to where they are. That’s our goal. That’s it.”