What will it take to get Anthony Davis from the Pelicans? That answer is coming into clearer focus 10 days before the 2019 NBA draft -- and could involve multiple teams.
The New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers and the Boston Celtics have long been rumored to be likely landing spots for Anthony Davis after the All-Star forward’s trade request back in January.
But according to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin may be searching for a third team to include to help facilitate a trade that is likely to include a treasure trove of assets.
According to the report, citing sources, the Pelicans are seeking at least one all star player, a potential future all star player, and two first-round picks, while also seeking for any deal involving 2019 picks to be completed "days" before the 2019 draft on June 20.
Additionally, the type of package Griffin is pursuing would include a current All-Star, a young player with All-Star potential and two first-round draft picks, with the quality of those individual assets able to be altered depending on the strength – or lack thereof – of the rest of the package.
It's worth noting that no current All-Stars have been rumored in any potential trade packages from the Lakers, Clippers, Knicks and Celtics. The closest the Boston could come would be including Gordon Hayward, who was an All-Star during the 2016-17 prior to his move to Boston and his severe leg injury in the first game of the 2017-18 season, or Al Horford, who is a five-time All-Star, most recently from the 2017-18 season.
The Nets could potentially offer D'Angelo Russell, who is currently a restricted free agent, in a deal, but one that would require a sign-and-trade that could make matters complicated and expensive for the Pelicans.
The four previously mentioned teams from New York and Los Angeles have been the leading squads inquiring about potential deals. The Celtics, though a potential front-runner, have to figure out the future of star guard Kyrie Irving, who announced publicly to fans before the season that he planned to resign with Boston, but walked that back during the heat of the Celtics’ up-and-down campaign.
The Pelicans and Celtics cannot make a deal to send Davis to Boston before free agency opens on July 1 due to the nature of Irving and Davis’ contracts, and Boston may be wary to lose the core of the remainder of their franchise, like Jayson Tatum, should Irving leave in free agency.
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With Kawhi Leonard’s potential NBA Finals MVP-level success during the season-ending series currently taking place with the Warriors, multiple teams outside of the shortlist of major market franchises have inquired about a potential trade for Davis, according to the report. Leonard was shipped from the Spurs to the Raptors last offseason with one year remaining on his deal, while Toronto hopes the prospect of a potential NBA championship could be enough to convince the All-Star forward to stay put rather than dashing for a Los Angeles team, as has long been rumored.
A three-team deal for Davis could be necessary if the Pelicans decide they desire different players other than the young cores teams like the Lakers or Knicks, for example, have to offer. Finding another team interested in those players and while willing to give up valuable assets could make pushing a trade through easier.
The team currently holds the No. 1 overall pick from winning last months Draft Lottery, where they’re expected to take Duke freshman phenom Zion Williamson.