The Anthony Davis sweepstakes are kicking into high gear, and the latest report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski suggests that a deal could get done sooner rather than later.
In an appearance on SportsCenter from earlier Tuesday, Wojnarowski highlighted both New Orleans’ urgency to trade Davis before the NBA Draft, and the Lakers’ desire to be the team that ends up with the prized superstar:
“(The Pelicans) would like to get a deal done well before next Thursday’s draft. New Orleans is engaged with several teams right now. The Lakers remain aggressive in here in trying to get a deal done.”
Woj: Lakers still "aggressive" in trying to get a deal done before the draft for Anthony Davis. pic.twitter.com/6jGIRJEsES— Lakers Outsiders (@LakersOutsiders) June 11, 2019
Logically, it makes sense for the Pelicans to move as quickly as possible, even if Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin says his team won’t rush. Davis’ value is only decreasing, as the team that acquires him wants as much time as possible to make its pitch to convince Davis to re-sign in free agency next summer. Furthermore, New Orleans would probably like to know which players and picks they are acquiring before the NBA Draft so they have an opportunity to select their preferred players on June 20.
For the Lakers, the sooner they can acquire Davis, the sooner they can wipe away the stench of the disastrous offseason they have had to date. Having Davis in hand would also be an incredibly valuable recruiting tool for the current free agent class, which features multiple superstar-level talents. There’s also a worry that Griffin and the Pelicans might get cold feet and change their mind the longer this process wears on, meaning it’s important for the Lakers to make a deal while New Orleans is still amenable.
Even if the two teams agree to a trade by this weekend, in all likelihood the deal won’t be consummated until after the draft in order for Los Angeles to save as much cap space as possible. The recent Nets-Hawks deal (the Allen Crabbe salary dump) that was announced June 6 also won’t be technically completed until after the start of the next league year.
Whether the Lakers officially have Davis by the time free agency starts June 30 is a moot point, though, so long as the particulars of the trade have already been decided. All indications are that the Pelicans want to make a deal happen, and the Lakers are their most willing and aggressive trade partner.
We’ve been down this road before, but it’s much a smoother process to execute trades in the offseason than midway through the year. Nevertheless, until Davis is sitting at a podium in El Segundo, it’s going to be hard to believe a trade to the Lakers will actually happen this time.
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