Article Written by Adam Corsair (@AdamCorsair)
Nothing like a Monday morning Woj Bomb to kick start the day, amiright?!?!?
Agent Rich Paul has notified the New Orleans Pelicans that All-NBA forward Anthony Davis has no intention of signing a contract extension if and when presented and that he has requested a trade, Paul told ESPN on Monday.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 28, 2019
By now, the NBA Trade Machine is probably being (over)used by fans in order to find a way for their favorite team to acquire the 5 time All-Star. And why wouldn’t they? Davis is a bonafide game changer for any organization and would instantly offer a boost towards the playoffs - at the very least - for any team. Simply put, if a team is able to trade for Davis, they instantly become a threat (or a more dangerous threat), period.
Much of the rumors centered around the Boston Celtics aggressively pursuing Davis in the off-season after July 1st. Remember, as I’ve mentioned on Twitter (numerous times), the Celtics are forbidden to make a trade for Davis during the current season due to the 5th Year 30% Max Criteria (commonly known as the “Rose Rule”) so long as they have Kyrie Irving on their roster. Thus, if Davis is to be moved by the deadline, he will be kept out of the hands of the Celtics. A more detailed explanation of why the Celtics cannot acquire Davis this season can be found here (credit to Celtics Blog).
I lean more towards the direction of Boston not acquiring Davis because history shows that players that request a trade don’t typically do so with patience. It seems unlikely to me that Davis’ agent would make such a request public with the understanding or expectation that it would be honored five-ish months from now. Recall when Jimmy Butler made his feelings known that he wanted to be traded away from the Timberwolves and how urgent he wanted the request to be fulfilled. This may be similar in vein. It seems counter-intuitive to have someone on your team that simply doesn’t want to be there. Morale is probably low as it is. Why exacerbate it?
Of course, the Pelicans could tell Davis to pound sand and trade him when they’re good and ready when a package that would benefit the future of the organization becomes available (i.e. from Boston). But, as of this writing, all signs point to Davis being in the driver’s seat on this one.
Which brings me to the second part of the Woj bomb -
Rich Paul to ESPN on a preferred destination for Anthony Davis: "Anthony wants to be traded to a team that allows him the chance to win consistently and compete for a championship."— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 28, 2019
This automatically eliminates certain teams from the equation. We can cross out the obvious teams like Phoenix, Chicago, Cleveland, Atlanta, Memphis, Dallas, etc. There are only a handful of teams that fit the criteria of “championship contenders” with the necessary chips that it would take to pry Davis away from New Orleans not named the Celtics. The Lakers seem to be everyone’s favorite choice for a couple of reasons.
First, playing along side LeBron James is almost a guaranteed path to success in terms of having the opportunity to compete for a ring. Rumor has it that LeBron and the Lakers’ brass are looking to shake things up and improve their squad. Making a trade for Davis would certainly accomplish this.
Further, Davis and James share the same agent - Rich Paul - of Klutch Sports. Could it be that Paul is offering the Lakers the opportunity to jump the gun and offer the best deal to the Pelicans while the Celtics have their hands tied? It’s possible and I wouldn’t rule it out.
The problem is that in order for NOLA to be willing to part with their franchise player, they would obviously want not just picks in return, but also quality young talent to solidify the future of the organization. The Lakers could offer a package centered around Kyle Kuzma+ and picks to land Davis, and they may see this as their only opportunity to do so. The question is, is that enough for Davis? Regardless, I expect them to be aggressive in their pursuits.
However, seeing as this is a Raptors’ blog, I’d be doing a disservice if I didn’t entertain the idea of the lone Canadian team in the NBA making a push for Davis.
The Raptors can make a compelling offer for Davis, and they should. So will many other teams. But New Orleans has no reason to rush this process. With AD signed through next season, they'd be crazy not to wait until the summer when Boston can and likely would outbid the field.— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) January 28, 2019
I want to stress this before diving in - it is very unlikely that the Raptors land Davis in a trade at the deadline.
But we can have fun with the trade machine, regardless!
If I’m Masai, you make the call. Anyone not named Kawhi Leonard is available.
Yes, that includes Pascal Siakam. You make that move 100 times out of 100 if it’s for Anthony Davis. Don’t even bother convincing yourself otherwise. You make that deal if it’s agreed to.
I said it on the latest episode of the Podcast and I’ll say it again here - Raptors fans tend to overvalue their young talent. This is a win-now move.
The Raptors have a lot of young talent that can serve as a foundation for a rebuilding team. Players like Delon Wright, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, and even Norman Powell can be enticing chips for a team that is looking for a fresh start. Such players presumably have yet to reach their ceiling, and in the case of Siakam, could become All-Star caliber (if he’s not already, this year. But that’s yet to be seen). A package centered around Siakam+ would be interesting and I think New Orleans would consider it, but that’s as far as it would go. Of course, it would take a lot - and I mean a lot - more than just Siakam to get the wheels spinning. To boot, according to the Trade Machine, a package of Jonas Valanciunas, Pascal Siakam, and Norman Powell for Davis would get it done. However, and I don’t think I’m alone on this - realistically, even with a couple picks thrown in to that mix, it’s not attractive enough to land Davis. I would expect New Orleans to pass.
To put it bluntly, don’t hold your breath Raptors fans.
Should Masai try? Absolutely.
Do I think he’ll pull it off? My heart says “yes,” but my mind says “no.”
I echo what Lewenberg suggests in the tweet above. If New Orleans really wants to cash in on a trade involving Davis, it’s in their best interest to wait until Boston is able to make an offer in order to have a Kyrie/AD tandem. Yet, if Danny Ainge starts to feel the pressure, it’d be interesting to see if he’s willing to move on from Kyrie and include him in trade talks in order to get Davis now. Remember, as long as Irving is on the Celtics this season, the Celtics cannot acquire Davis. If you ask me, I’d much rather have Davis than Kyrie. Terry Rozier showed that he’s at least capable of being an adequate starting point guard, and with some combination of Hayward, Davis, Tatum, and/or Brown around him, it would mitigate the loss of Irving. As I mentioned, I think Davis is in the driver’s seat on this one, and I don’t think NOLA will have the luxury of waiting it out. Team morale is a legitimate thing.
Regardless, it will be interesting to see how this shapes up. Will New Orleans feel the pressure and move Davis by the deadline? Will Davis even want to report to the team if they decide to hold their chips and he isn’t dealt? Will Boston get anxious and make a move now? Will GM LeBron come back?
Buckle up. February 7th is just around the corner.
UPDATE 3:51 pm:
Well this is interesting….
I don’t want to get too wrapped up in the hype, but this is interesting to say the least. By no means do I think this means the Raptors will land Davis, but at least according to the above odds, they seem to be the favorites.
All I can say is, strap yourself in. This is going to be one hell of a ride!
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