With the NBA trade deadline exactly one week away and Anthony Davis currently on ice, the Los Angeles Lakers’ only real window to trade for the Brow without Danny Ainge and Boston’s superior collection of assets getting involved is... right now, actually. Because Boston can beat pretty much any offer that Magic Johnson and the Lakers can put together, the Pelicans have basically no reason to get rid of Davis before the deadline, although that apparently hasn’t stopped them from trying. A complicating factor in all this is that Pelicans GM Dell Demps was just sort of not picking up his phone over the past few days, which is great and dumb and also possibly a brilliant negotiating tactic.
The happy news from this afternoon: Demps still doesn’t have a good reason to trade AD now, but he has at least found his phone. Magic Johnson apparently presented Demps with “five different trade scenarios” yesterday, and the two plan to talk again soon. That’s progress, I guess, though ESPN reports that Demps “has been in no rush to fully engage,” owing in part to Pelicans owner Gayle Benson’s unwillingness to be seen as caving to a big-market team.
It has also become clear that L.A. knows they have to throw the kitchen sink at New Orleans to even have a chance.
The only possible way the Lakers could gain any leverage over the Pelicans would if Davis were to make it known that he’d only re-sign with the Lakers after being traded. That would, in theory, shrink the market and force the Pelicans to play ball with L.A. Interestingly, ESPN also reports that Davis is starting to do so:
Teams interested in trading for Davis—including the Boston Celtics—are in full fact-finding mode and the intel coming back is this, sources tell ESPN: Davis’ plan is to treat any trade destination as a one-year stop—except, of course, the Lakers. Teams are learning that Davis’ stated intention will be to play the season elsewhere if traded outside of the Lakers, but move to the Lakers as a free agent in 2020.
The reason Davis and his representatives are skeptical about Boston is a reported belief that Kyrie Irving will leave the team this summer. There’s no obvious way this ends, with both of the most obvious parties in some sort of trouble here. So either someone is going to cave, or Davis will have to grumpily sit in New Orleans for another 18 months.