When the Pelicans opted to hang onto Anthony Davis at this season’s trade deadline, it ensured that the Davis saga in New Orleans, which began when his camp publicly requested a trade last month, would drag on for at least several more months.
While Davis and the Pelicans still have to figure out how much he’ll play – or whether he should be playing at all – for the rest of the season, the two sides are essentially on a holding pattern for now. It’s not as if the team is going to buy out the All-NBA big man, so we’ll have to wait until the offseason for trade talks to heat up and for the possibility of Davis changing teams to potentially become a reality.
Given how messy things already are in New Orleans, it seems extremely unlikely that the Pelicans will once again pass on the opportunity to trade Davis during the offseason. I’d expect Davis to be on a new team by opening night of the 2019/20 season, but it remains to be seen which team that will be.
The Celtics, who weren’t eligible to trade for Davis as long as Kyrie Irving was on his current contract, may emerge as the front-runner, particularly now that AD has added them to his list of preferred destinations. However, other teams on his wish list shouldn’t be ruled out.
The Lakers can still put a tantalizing combination of young players and draft picks on the table this summer, and the Knicks may hold a trump card if they land the No. 1 pick in the draft. The Bucks probably can’t make a realistic play for Davis, but the Clippers could — a package headlined by promising young prospect Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and a handful of unprotected picks would be intriguing.
Of course, as the Pelicans have tried to make clear, Davis and his camp don’t control this process, which means that New Orleans doesn’t necessarily have to send him to a team on his wish list. In recent years, teams like the Thunder (Paul George) and Raptors (Kawhi Leonard) have come out of nowhere to make trades for star players, and those moves have paid off for those franchises, at least so far.
In the case of Davis, an unlikely suitor could certainly talk itself into making a play for the All-Star — after all, if things go south quickly, that team could always flip him at the trade deadline in 2020. If things work out, a deep playoff run and a five-year maximum-salary offer could make AD re-think his long-term plans.
What do you think? Which team will Davis play for when the 2019/20 season gets underway? Is there any chance he’s still a Pelican? Will a longtime frontrunner like the Lakers or Celtics land him? Or will a dark-horse suitor make a play?
Vote in our poll, then head to the comment section to weigh in with your thoughts!
Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.