Here we go again…
Except this time, things will be different on the Anthony Davis trade front. For one thing, he almost certainly will get traded.
Also, it will not be the circus it was at the trade deadline, mostly because new Pelicans’ executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin — read: the guy with the hammer — will not let it. This will not be a negotiation conducted through the media and teams that leak things will get a cold shoulder on their next call. Finally, this time around the Pelicans have not felt blindsided by the request and the timing, this time they are prepared.
That said, the wheels of a trade have started again. New Orleans has begun to listen to offers again, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.
As teams continue placing calls into New Orleans, Griffin has begun listening to teams and their inquiries on Davis, league sources told The Athletic. Previously, the Pelicans had been trying to pitch Davis to stay — and now they are at least open to hearing people out.
Griffin was not taking those calls for a long time, opting instead to pitch Davis to stay and play along Zion Williamson (who the Pelicans will take with the No. 1 pick) and with things changing around the organization, such as the training staff. It was always a longshot pitch, but Griffin was going to take his swing (this also was about sending a message, first to the fan base, and second to other agents/free agents, that things are different with him running the show).
Expect a deal to go down around the draft (even if the trade can’t be executed until July 1).
The usual suspects will call. Boston has the pieces to put together the offer most executives believe would be the best, but if Kyrie Irving is leaving (as most of those same executives also expect) then will Boston put that best offer on the table? The Lakers have the same group of nice young players, plus now the No. 4 pick in the draft. The Knicks have the third pick and fewer nice young players (they are reportedly playing from behind with their offer). The Brooklyn Nets could potentially have the best offer with some good young players (Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen) and a bevy of draft picks. Other teams will at least explore the idea (Clippers are one to watch), and there are potential multi-team trades that could happen. Things are wide open. It depends on how David Griffin values certain players and picks.
Davis can be a free agent in the summer of 2020, which gives him some leverage in this trade, his agent Rich Paul can let specific teams know he would not re-sign with them to try and scare them off. Griffin and the Pelicans, however, will not care what Davis wants, they want the best package in return. What happens in 2020 is not their concern.
The Pelicans have a strong veteran point guard in Jrue Holiday, some decent role players, but mostly it’s about Zion and their cap flexibility. The Pelicans are now building for their future without Davis and whatever team can further that process along the best will get a deal done.