The Anthony Davis trade rumors aren’t going to take a break before the Feb. 7 NBA trade deadline, and the latest report on the saga makes it sounds like — as expected — the New Orleans Pelicans are going to ask the Los Angeles Lakers for a lot in return for their franchise forward.
According to Brad Turner and Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times, the Pelicans haven’t truly started to counter the Lakers’ offers, but they are planning to ask the Lakers for more when they do come to the bargaining table this week:
With the NBA’s trade deadline approaching, the Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans have yet to discuss the offers the Lakers made for six-time All-Star forward Anthony Davis, but that conversation is expected to take place next week.
The Pelicans are considering a counter offer that would ask for two first-round picks and add a Pelicans player to the deal, according to people with knowledge of the situation who requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
Two first round picks and (likely) a bad salary in return is a significantly higher price than the Lakers were originally bidding, because as Turner and Ganguli had previously reported, one of the offers the Lakers made was a bit less “underwhelming” than some other outlets reported (likely a difference due to two sides trying to leverage each other through the media):
The Lakers sent five offers to the Pelicans on Wednesday. One of the options offered Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Ivica Zubac and a first-round pick, multiple sources said.
That is already a lot for the Lakers to put on the table, basically their entire young core. For the Pelicans to request an extra first-rounder and send out what would likely be a crappy contract makes the price for Davis even steeper, but it’s still one of the Lakers should still be more than willing to pay.
The Pelicans have been over seven points per 100 possessions better with Davis on the floor than when he sits, and in shifting him into a co-starring role with LeBron where defenses can’t devote their entire attention to either player, both should be made more devastating. That’s a core worth building around for the Lakers, even if it costs them almost their entire last group to bear that moniker.
Still, the Lakers are likely to counter the Pelicans, potentially still taking on one bad contract and trying to keep an extra first-rounder out of the deal, but ultimately you don’t let an extra first-round pick stop you from acquiring a 25-year-old future hall of famer like Davis. If that’s what it takes to get the deal done, it seems fair to expect the Lakers will do it.
These two sides are probably going to continue to publicly haggle each other until the Thursday deadline, but with the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks fading away as viable suitors, the Lakers have the Pelicans where they want them. As long as they don’t get cute and disrespect New Orleans with low-ball offers, it seems more and more likely the two franchises will be able to find a barter they both can agree on within the next few days, putting Davis in a Lakers uniform, and the Pelicans firmly in rebuilding mode.
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