How do you cut through the noise?
Every day unearths a new report. A new leak providing evidence on where Anthony Davis wants to go, why he doesn’t want to be elsewhere or what the New Orleans Pelicans are being offered in return.
The public drumbeat is cold, calculated and carried by an express purpose from various sides. Usually there are anonymous sources, sometimes there are quotes by those close to Davis, but it’s always with intent.
For those unable to see the battle lines drawn, I’ll save you some time. Anthony Davis’ camp, led by agent Rich Paul, is trying to publicly pressure the Pelicans to trade Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers before Thursday’s trade deadline.
Despite Davis’ empty claim he’s never focused his trade request to any particular destination, it’s become obvious in the deluge of reporting precisely how Davis and his camp want this to end.
Anthony Davis’ one shining moment came in New Orleans nearly seven years ago, but the self-professed most dominant player in the NBA hasn’t co…
And the pressure has continually cranked up over the past week as Klutch Sports (Davis’ agency) did everything short of flying a banner over the Pelicans’ Airline Drive offices to get its message across.
Anthony Davis Sr. claimed he never wants his son to play for the Celtics, hoping to attack the Lakers’ potential competition in the trade market. Then reports swirled that Davis has no interest in signing a contract extension with any team except Los Angeles and possibly New York, turning Davis into a rental and squeezing the Pelicans’ possible leverage.
And on Saturday night, broadcaster Mark Jackson (a Klutch client himself) openly lobbied for the Pelicans to trade Davis by Thursday, without a hint of full disclosure in the presentation.
But is there really any point to all of this?
While the optics paint a line to Davis’ preferences, even if he won’t say it, no actual power shifts to his side of the negotiations by employing these tactics. The Pelicans are, and remain, under zero obligation to help Davis get what he wants, anyway.
In fact, league sources say the way Davis’ camp has gone about its public campaign has turned some people in the Pelicans’ organization the other direction, reticent to work an agreement with the Lakers due to what they believe is a distasteful approach by Klutch this past week.
It’s made an already tricky trade at the deadline seem increasingly unlikely, especially when it appeared the Pelicans took a public shot of their own late Friday night. ESPN and The Athletic rebuked earlier reports out of Los Angeles that the Lakers offered a bevy of prospects and multiple first-round picks, claiming the only offer to come in for Davis provided less than half of that bounty and didn’t even merit a counter from New Orleans.
It was the first public pushback from the Pelicans and set up an odd question.
What purpose do these public grenades really serve?
Perhaps there’s merit to the argument the Pelicans could be in over their head, and these reports might cause them to rush a decision, since it’s the highest-profile transaction in the franchise’s history. It will color their perception around the league for years to come, so sending a message about an unacceptable offer strengthens their negotiating position.
Anthony Davis wants to be liked.
But all common sense points to the Pelicans waiting until this summer to accept an offer for Davis anyway.
While some reports say the Lakers will move on to other free agents this summer, Davis is clearly their top priority, meaning any offering isn’t likely to diminish once there are more suitors in the mix.
The Boston Celtics, armed with a bevy of draft picks and assets, can’t make a deal until the summer and haven’t been dissuaded by Klutch’s campaign either, per sources. And the NBA draft lottery doesn’t take place until May, leaving a massive unknown about whether the Pelicans can net the No. 1 pick, and start a rebuild around Zion Williamson.
More time means more information.
While so much pressure is being exerted in these two weeks, the extra four months to decide are a much bigger boon.
And considering the silence emanating from the franchise on the future of general manager Dell Demps, now in his ninth season, a change in leadership is a logical conclusion at the end of the season. Allowing the next man up a chance to make the splash and rebuild the roster his way.
In the meantime, the flood of reporting will not slow down. This week will likely reach fever pitch leading to the deadline.
But, beyond social media, very little of it changes a thing.
Unless the Lakers decide this is the time to throw their best offer, including all of their young prospects, three first-round picks and a pair of future pick swaps at the Pelicans, there’s simply not enough motivation to budge right now.
Thursday might be the deadline, but despite all of the posturing, the stage is set for the summer.