Several NBA teams are in the running for the services of superstar big man Anthony Davis.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, broke down three of the most likely trade destinations for his client this summer. Among the options, Paul categorized the Los Angeles Lakers as the most appealing and believes that it’s a great place for Davis to land.
“So now, when you add LeBron [James], that’s what? The cherry on top,” Paul said. “LeBron’s 34 years old. Anthony Davis is 26. So when LeBron’s done playing, the Anthony Davis trade is still rolling. What better place to do it than L.A.? If it was L.A. — I never said ‘L.A.’ But there’s no negative to that. Who gives a s— what you’re talking about, about me trying to help LeBron out? No, I’m not. I’m trying to help Anthony Davis. Now, if helping Anthony Davis helps LeBron in the long run? So be it. But my goal is Anthony Davis.”
The Lakers were billed as the most likely landing spot for Davis leading up to the trade deadline during the regular season. However, a deal never ended up getting done between both sides, but a lot has changed since then.
The New Orleans Pelicans shook up their front office when they parted ways with general manager Dell Demps and replaced him with former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin, making him the new executive vice president of basketball operations.
Early in his tenure in New Orleans, Griffin made it clear that he wanted to see if Davis would be interested in remaining with the Pelicans considering that the franchise owns the No. 1 overall in the 2019 NBA Draft. Of course, that top pick is expected to be used on Duke star freshman Zion Williamson, who is scheduled to meet with the team this week.
Meanwhile, the New York Knicks are also expected to factor into the conversation when it comes to Davis. New York has several strong assets in the form of Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson and the No. 3 pick in next week’s draft that could entice New Orleans. Will that be enough to land the superstar?
“The only difference is, they don’t have as many championships as the Lakers,” Paul said. “They got a tradition. It’s a big market — not that it’s only big markets. They have cap space, flexibility, they’re able to absorb more than one star. What’s wrong with that?”
It clearly sounds like Paul isn’t closing the door on a potential move to the Big Apple. The Knicks do have the cap room to sign two players to max contracts, but the free agency landscape has changed quite a bit with Kevin Durant suffering what is presumed to be a significant Achilles injury. However, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks are still willing to sign Durant to a max contract.
Not but certainly not least are the Boston Celtics, who have a quite uncertain future as free agency approaches. Celtics star guard Kyrie Irving is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. On Wedneday, he reportedly decided to not opt into his final year of his contract, making him eligible to sign a new deal in free agency. We’ll soon see whether he re-signs in Boston or moves on.
Still, the Celticseven if Irving leaves in free agency. Considering that Boston also has multiple attractive, young assets, Davis could certainly be attainable. However, Paul isn’t exactly convinced that Davis would re-sign with the Celtics.
“They can trade for him, but it’ll be for one year,” Paul added. “I mean: If the Celtics traded for Anthony Davis, we would go there and we would abide by our contractual [obligations] and we would go into free agency in 2020. I’ve stated that to them. But in the event that he decides to walk away and you give away assets? Don’t blame Rich Paul.”
The Pelicans definitely have an abundance of options in terms of who they can ship Davis to if they end up going that route. All three teams have attractive assets, but it does seem that no team can put together as strong of a package as the Lakers.