Anthony Davis requested a trade from the Pelicans. His agent, Rich Paul, said the superstar wants to be dealt to a team that “allows him the chance to win consistently and compete for a championship.”
Which teams qualify?
Chris Broussard of ESPN:
Not giving the Pelicans a list is about controlling the narrative. Right now, Davis can paint himself as still loyal to New Orleans. He’ll continue to play hard, and he was just honest and open about his intentions. If he gave the Pelicans a list of preferred destinations, that would be seen as too demanding in his exit.
The big question: Will Davis tell certain teams whether he will or won’t re-sign in 2020 free agency. That knowledge should greatly affect how much teams offer New Orleans in a trade. It’d put the Pelicans in the same de facto position as if they had a preference list directly from Davis, but it’d give him more plausible deniability to be the good guy.
Really, the timing of his trade request already speaks volumes. If he wanted to join the Celtics, he would have waited until the offseason to request a trade. Boston can’t trade for Davis without moving Kyrie Irving until Irving’s current contract expires July 1, because they’re both designated rookie scale players. New Orleans could still trade Davis to the Celtics, but this is a major indicator he doesn’t want to join Boston.
Davis hired LeBron James‘ agent. LeBron openly recruited Davis to Los Angeles. There are a lot of hints Davis wants to join the Lakers.
Ultimately, Davis can get wherever he wants in 2020 free agency. If he must spend the rest of this season and next season elsewhere first, so be it. But if he joins his long-term team via trade first, he could make more money.
Davis’ max re-signing in 2020 projects to be about $205 million over five years (about $41 million annually). If he leaves his prior team that summer, his max projects to be about $152 million over four years (about $38 million annually).
Money isn’t everything to Davis. Rejecting a super-max extension from the Pelicans – which projects to be worth about $240 million over five years (about $48 million annually) – proves that. But he’d likely rather have more money than less. He’d also likely rather join his next long-term team sooner than later.
We’ll see how aggressive he gets about engineering that. So far, he’s presenting a more-passive approach.