Remember: Every leak to the media is about spin, about getting to control the story on some level.
Sources have told me all along that the Pelicans would not be rushed to make a decision on where and when to trade Anthony Davis. They were going to do things at their own pace. That was always, in part, the Pelicans trying to gain leverage. The reports of Boston’s Kyrie Irving potentially joining Kevin Durant with the Knicks — messing up plans to pair Irving and Davis — hurt that leverage.
Then late on Friday night Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and Shams Charania of The Athletic both come out with an interesting new storyline, that the Lakers are lowballing the Pelicans.
The Magic Johnson/Rob Pelinka Lakers have done this before, making lowball offers to Indiana for Paul George and Toronto for Kawhi Leonard because they believed they would come to Los Angeles as a free agent in a year anyway. It adds a layer of believability to this latest report. Would the Lakers do the same thing with Davis after what happened with George, who is having his best season ever as a member of the Thunder?
Here’s my question: Why leak this now?
To show the world why the Pelicans are not taking the Laker offer? Why they are waiting past the trade deadline for an offer from Boston or others? To show the Lakers are overvaluing their own prospects? To show they aren’t passing up the offer most thought would be on the table, which would be any and all of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and Josh Hart?
Or, is the goal embarrass the Lakers and put public pressure on them to up their offer? In that case, the Pelicans might be willing to do a deal. Other reports said the Lakers have yet to put multiple first-round picks or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in an offer (he’s an expiring contract), nor have they been willing to take on a bad Pelican salary (Solomon Hill). Are the Pelicans signaling what they are looking for in a trade? From the Lakers or anyone?
There’s a lot of gamesmanship going on here. The big question remains: Do the Pelicans have any intention of trading Davis to the Lakers, and would they do it before the Feb. 7 trade deadline? I have my doubts, but the Pelicans are playing the game now.