There are two things general managers around the NBA — particularly ones with franchises in position to go big game hunting in free agency/trades — are preparing for: Kevin Durant deciding to leave Golden State next summer, and the New Orleans Pelicans deciding to trade Anthony Davis.
With Davis, that trade talk has zero traction until next summer because everyone knows the Pelicans’ plan: Try to win this season (they are 3-0) and show they can contend, then put a five-year, $240 million extension only they can offer on the table in front of Davis and dare him to walk away.
A lot of fans (and plenty of front office personnel) expect Davis to do just that. Why switch agents to Klutch Sports and Rich Paul if you’re just going to sign the contract put in front of you?
Don’t be so sure. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN made an interesting comment to Brian Windhorst on The Hoop Collective Show (hat tip Real GM).
“My sense has always been with Anthony that he is always: some players are looking for reasons to stay and some players are looking for reasons to leave. I’ve always thought that Anthony is a guy looking for reasons to stay in New Orleans. And I think that will continue to be the case until he feels he’s out of them.
“I do think down the line that the Boston and L.A., if he became available, that will be interesting, especially if the Lakers get shut out this summer.”
What if he’s not out of them? What if there are 240 million reasons to stay? What if the Pelicans, who have done a poor job putting a good team around Davis for years, finally succeed? What if Davis realizes he can’t get really good gumbo in Boston or Los Angeles?
If I were a betting man, I’d put money on Davis being in a new uniform when the 2021-22 season tips off. But the idea that he stays is not crazy, not unreasonable. There’s a lot of variables in play here. Whatever happens with Davis, nothing is changing before next summer, the Pelicans are going to make their push to keep him.