It’s obvious that Anthony Davis‘ agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, is trying to push his client to the Lakers.
For one thing, why else would he leak it that he told the Pelicans Davis will not re-sign and wants to be traded? Paul could have said that to the Pelicans, kept it quiet, and let them work the market into the summer. However, leaking it now puts pressure on the Pelicans — is Davis going to get booed at home games? — and gives the Lakers and other teams a window to get a deal done before the Celtics can really get involved (the CBA prevents them from being active in this trade until July 1 because they traded for Kyrie Irving and teams can’t trade to have two players with max rookie contract extensions at the same time).
Then comes this report from the well-connected Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
Regarding team preferences, Boston is not a top target for Davis, sources said. There’s a growing belief of uncertainty that Kyrie Irving will re-sign with Boston, sources said, even though he vowed to do so at the beginning of the season.
I will say that “uncertainty” and rumors of a parting of the ways between Irving and Boston are all over the league. There’s nothing concrete, but a lot of teams think that could be the direction things go this July when Irving opts out and becomes a free agent. Even though Irving did say he would re-sign in Boston.
This looks like part of a push from Davis’ camp to get the 25-year-old big man to Los Angeles.
Will it be enough is another question.
The Pelicans do not have an obligation to trade Davis where he wants to go, they have to get the best deal for their franchise that they can. If Davis were traded to Boston he could walk after a season, but he’d be leaving a lot of money on the table (if Davis signs short-term contracts wherever he is traded he can get close to the $240 million New Orleans can offer).
Sources I spoke to said the Pelicans are not feeling rushed to get a deal done (others, including Haynes, have reported the same thing). Maybe an offer comes in that blows them away and they take it, but they can wait this out until after the draft (see who gets the No. 1 pick and the rights to Zion Williamson) and after July 1, when Boston and its trove of assets (Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, draft picks) can get in the mix.
What it really comes down to is this: How much do the Pelicans value Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma? Is there a future All-Star in that group? Opinions around the league are divided, there are still fans of Ball and Ingram in front offices, who seem them guys who can develop into second or, more likely, third options on a very good team. Kuzma is loved as a scorer. But there are a lot of front office people who think none of them are ever an All-Star. Throw in the fact Ball is out for at least another month with a sprained ankle, and it seems unlikely the Pelicans will pull the trigger on that deal without waiting out other options.
But the Pelicans have done plenty of unpredictable things. Nobody knows how this is going to play out.