When the NBA trade deadline came and went in February, it seemed as though the Lakers had missed their opportunity to trade for Anthony Davis. The Celtics were going to outbid them by including Jayson Tatum, and the Knicks were going to dangle the No. 1 overall pick on draft night — at least that’s what many thought at the time. Four months later and it seems like the Lakers are the favorites to land the 26-year-old All-Star.
Despite what Danny Ainge may have promised the Pelicans earlier in the season, the Celtics are unlikely to include Jayson Tatum in a trade package for Davis because of Kyrie Irving’s uncertain future with the team. Meanwhile, the Knicks are struggling to stay competitive with the Lakers, who have gained traction on a multi-team deal, according to Ian Begley of SNY TV:
ESPN reported on Tuesday that the Lakers are the “leader in the clubhouse” for a potential Davis trade. One league source said Tuesday that Los Angeles had made progress towards completing a multi-team deal.
The Knicks had dialogue recently with at least one team in an effort to put together a multi-team deal for Davis, per sources, but it appears that they’ve been unwilling to offer what Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin desires in a Davis deal.
That’s not that shocking, because this isn’t the first we’ve heard of a lack of enthusiasm about the Knicks’ “assets”:
This should not come as a surprise. Very little enthusiasm around the league for Knicks' young prospects. https://t.co/eXSWWZyrW4— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) June 11, 2019
But getting back to Begley’s report on the Lakers’ “progress” towards a deal, while the third team involved remains a mystery, the Lakers have been in talks with the Chicago Bulls and Phoenix Suns over Lonzo Ball in the past. Considering that both teams have top-10 picks in this year’s draft, they would be natural fits for a three-team trade. Unfortunately, if that’s the case, the Lakers’ package will likely include both Ball and Brandon Ingram, but it also means they can theoretically keep one or both of Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma.
The Knicks have young players they can offer the Pelicans on top of their treasure chest of draft picks, but they’re reportedly reluctant to include too much:
On the Davis front, some Knicks decision makers have been adamant about not giving up a ton of significant assets -- young players or draft picks -- in a Davis trade, per SNY sources. Some in the organization are wary of giving up too many young assets or picks for Davis, citing the way things played out for New York in the wake of the Carmelo Anthony trade, per sources.
The Lakers should be operating the same way, especially since it seems they’re bidding against themselves at this point, but because the Knicks’ assets aren’t as valuable as L.A.’s, they’d have to include more. For a team that’s still a few years away from contending even with Davis, that might be too big of a gamble for New York.
While a dark-horse team could swoop in late in the race, it’s becoming increasingly likely that Davis is a Laker on draft night. What a time to be alive.