LeBron James, Anthony Davis

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James, right, smiles as he walks past New Orleans Pelicans' Anthony Davis during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 21, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Earlier this week, through reports from The Athletic, Anthony Davis and his agent Rich Paul made clear that no matter where David Griffin and the Pelicans front office trade him in the coming days, weeks or months, his long-term future lies with one of two teams: the Los Angeles Lakers or the New York Knicks.

And Wednesday, in a tell-all profile of Paul from Sports Illustrated’s S.L. Price, the head of Klutch Sports revealed exactly why he sees both as the perfect destinations to fit Davis’ career arc that he feels is headed toward a life of stardom fitting for the two biggest cities in the country.

And even though he lists both New York and Los Angeles on initial equal footing, it’s not hard to see why the Lakers have always been Davis’ rumored preferred landing spot ever since his trade demand went public on Jan. 28.

“My thing is: Take LeBron off the Lakers. Are the Lakers not a great destination for an arguably top-two player that went to Kentucky and won a national championship, signed with Nike? For a team that’s had centers from George Mikan to Wilt Chamberlain to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Shaq?” Paul told Sports Illustrated.

“So now, when you add LeBron, that’s what? The cherry on top. LeBron’s 34-years-old. Anthony Davis is 26. So when LeBron’s done playing, the Anthony Davis trade is still rolling. What better place to do that than L.A.? If it was L.A. – I never said ‘L.A.’. But there’s no negative to that.”


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Paul went on to pump up the prospect of Davis playing for the Knicks, a team he said believes has all the allure without quite the same winning pedigree.

“The only difference is, they don’t have as many championships as the Lakers,” Paul told SI. They got tradition. It’s a big market – not that it’s only big markets. They have cap space, flexibility, they’re able to absorb more than one star. What’s wrong with that”

What about the Boston Celtics? The team has long been considered to hold the best current-player assets that could be used in a Davis trade, but the Davis camp has continuously rejected the notion that the NBA franchise with the most championships – 17 to the Lakers’ 16 – and far more recent success is a viable long-term option for Davis.

As Paul explains, Boston, along with the 27 other NBA franchises not named the Lakers or the Knicks, essentially sit in the same boat with the same amount of risk of acquiring – or in the Pelicans case keeping – Davis heading into the summer of 2020 when he will become a free agent.

“They can trade for him, but it’ll be for one year,” Paul told SI. “I mean: If the Celtics traded for Anthony Davis, we would go there and we would abide by our contractual (obligations) and we would go into free agency in 2020. I’ve stated that to them.

“But in the event that he decides to walk away and you give away assets? Don’t blame Rich Paul.”

Where will Davis land eventually, and where will he put roots down in just over a year? Paul claims not to know, but the roller coaster ride that has long been on it’s slow churn up to the first big peak is about to drop, and the big-time agent is prepared for and excited for the ride.

“Where’s he going to land? I have no idea,” Paul said in the report. “And it don’t matter. We’re going into free agency. Why does it matter to me where he goes?

“Earth: We’re going into free agency/ He has a year, he has to play. But after that, I can’t say it no bigger: WE ARE GOING INTO FREE AGENCY. 2020: ANTHONY DAVIS WILL BE IN FREE AGENCY.”

And before he lets things go, Paul makes one last endorsement for why Davis going to the Lakers, a team already with the biggest name in American sports, the strongest media gravity and the highest amount of pressure shouldn’t be seen as a detriment.

“That’s like saying, ‘No, A-Rod, don’t marry J-Lo. Are you out of your f---in’ mind, man?’ This is Jennifer Lopez! I mean, who would you rather me marry? The Lakers are Jennifer Lopez. You don’t want me to date Jennifer Lopez? Give me a reason I shouldn’t date J-Lo!”


Follow Nathan Brown on Twitter, @nbrownadvocate.