Just 10 days before the NBA trade deadline on Feb. 7, Anthony Davis requested a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans. One would assume that meant he wanted to get out of New Orleans as (and to Los Angeles) soon as possible, but that reportedly isn’t the case.
According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, Davis didn’t put any pressure on the Pelicans to move him before the deadline:
A trade to any team did not appear imminent Wednesday night, as Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline drew near. But Davis’s recent request to be traded did not include a demand that the move happen before the deadline, according to the people, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the situation publicly.
However, in the event that he is moved before the deadline, Davis won’t make a long-term commitment to any team that trades for him, even if it’s the New York Knicks or Lakers, both of whom he reportedly has “on equal footing” as potential suitors:
The Knicks are aware of Davis’s strong interest in playing in New York, according to the people. Either way, though, Davis is leaning toward playing out his current contract and becoming a free agent in July 2020 no matter where he is traded.
That has to be worrisome to teams, including the Lakers, who were reportedly preparing to offer almost half of their roster for the 25-year-old superstar, but Los Angeles has a reason to feel confident that Davis would re-sign if they traded for him.
For one, he and LeBron James are both represented by Rich Paul of Klutch Sports. While ultimately it’s Paul’s job to do what his client wants him to do, it’s hard to imagine he wouldn’t strongly encourage Davis to stay with one of the NBA’s most marketable teams alongside his other superstar client.
Beyond that, James gives Davis the best chance to win now. The Knicks could enter that conversation if they lure Kyrie Irving away from the Boston Celtics this summer, but until that happens, the Lakers should be considered favorites to land Davis in free agency in 2020 if they don’t acquire him in a trade before then.
Perhaps the Lakers know that, which is why they’re reportedly reluctant to get into a bidding war with other teams this summer if they can’t complete a trade for Davis before the deadline, but nothing is set in stone until it happens.
It might not be the path the Lakers or their fans want to take, but i looks like they’re going to have to play the waiting game with Davis. After Thursday, the countdown resets to July 1, 2020.
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