NBA trade rumors: Where Pelicans, Lakers, Celtics stand in Anthony Davis saga

first_imgIt is here. Trade deadline Thursday. It’s been a busy time these last few days, except in the one spot that was considered the epicenter of trade-rumor-mongering: New Orleans. Let’s get into it for this edition of the Rumor-rama.  Forward Anthony Davis is still a Pelican. Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball and friends are still Lakers. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are still Celtics. The Knicks, no matter how hard they try, still have only a 14 percent chance at the No. 1 pick in the league. The Bucks, really, are just happy to be here. Fact is, this is exactly where things stood with Davis a week ago, and a month ago and back when training camp opened in late September. The Pelicans knew the Lakers wanted Davis, knew that other teams — including Boston — wanted him, too, and knew their best offers would come in the summer. They’re still inclined to wait until then.There’s a chance the Pelicans develop a severe case of cold feet and accede to the Lakers’ offer. That’s a longshot, though. All players involved, for now, remain in their respective spots, even as the rest of the league convulses in trade activities.Summer will be here soon, and maybe then the Pelicans can be persuaded to move. SN EXCLUSIVE: Davis’ list has Bucks owner thinking big We’ve seen 12 major deals in the past eight days in the NBA, involving more than 40 players and a dozen draft picks, but what we have yet to see is the deal we’ve all been waiting for: Something involving Davis. Like, anything.The Lakers have said they’re out of the mix on Davis, for now at least. Their last offer of two first-round picks, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley and Lance Stephenson for Davis, plus a willingness to take on the contract of Solomon Hill ($13 million for next season), did not get cleared by Pelicans brass.The Lakers duo of Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka figured it was offering everything New Orleans was seeking — young talent, draft considerations, cap relief — but the Pelicans are not as impressed with the future star power of Ingram and Kuzma as folks in LA.Take that as you will. Laker backers have cried foul, suggesting the Pelicans strung the team along, sowed discord among the players who were offered for Davis and never had a real intention to make a deal before Thursday’s deadline. Pelicans GM Dell Demps and owner Gayle Benson, in that light, have been dubbed petty.The Pelicans would suggest that Davis remains under contract until July 2020, and their plan all along has been to figure out what to do with Davis in the offseason. From that perspective, they can hardly be blamed for not bowing to the Lakers’ accelerated timeline or to the bullying tactics of Rich Paul, the agent for Davis (and, significantly, LeBron James). What’s the hurry?If anything is to happen with Davis, it would require that the Pelicans stand down, mend some fences with the Lakers and, likely, get to work on finding a third team to take on Ball and offer up another pick or young player. Ball’s father, LaVar Ball, suggested Phoenix, but the Suns just acquired Tyler Johnson from Miami.Around the league, the consensus is that the third-team market for Ball is very slim. That’s just another point against a Davis trade with LA getting done before the deadline. Indeed, bringing the deal back would represent a resurrection of Lazarus-like proportions.So Davis will have to wait to see what his fate might be. He is likely to sit out the rest of the year and collect the remainder of the $27 million he is owed for this season. Not bad for 41 games, or a half-season of work.MORE: Ranking worst trades of last decadeBeyond that, Davis has told the Pelicans his preferred destinations in a trade are the Lakers, Clippers, Knicks and Bucks. Just 10 days ago, Paul said that Davis’ desire is to land with a team that “allows him a chance to win consistently and compete for a championship.”The Clippers have never gotten past the second round of the playoffs in franchise history, the Knicks have been the NBA’s losingest team over the past 18 years and the Bucks have not reached the Finals since 1974 and have been to one conference finals in the past 34 years.Winning consistently and competing for a championship, at least historically, doesn’t line up with those franchises. Besides, none of those teams has the assets to acquire Davis, except perhaps the Knicks, should they win the draft lottery in May. It’s almost as if Davis’ representatives disingenuously submitted a list of teams that couldn’t possibly meet the Pelicans’ demands in an effort to make the package from the Lakers — who do, of course, have a tradition of winning — look that much better.The team that has been notable for its absence on Davis’ wish list is the Celtics, who have the assets New Orleans most wants, including Brown, Tatum and the Grizzlies’ pick next year or in 2021 (it is protected for the top six in 2020 and unprotected thereafter). The Celtics can’t make a deal until July 1 because Kyrie Irving was, like Davis, signed under the “Rose Rule,” and a team can’t have two such players on the roster at once. Irving will be a free agent this summer.Davis’ team has been hammering at the Celtics in recent days, even trotting out Anthony Davis Sr. to denounce the team for trading away Isaiah Thomas and claiming his son would never play for Boston. The goal was clear: Scare off the Celtics and leave the Lakers as the last team standing.Boston president Danny Ainge, though, has remained undeterred, sources told Sporting News. He still intends to make an offer for Davis this summer, with the belief that Irving can be re-signed and the Celtics will have amassed a new superteam of stars just hitting their prime years. A full year with the Celtics, the thinking goes, would be enough to convince Davis to stay in free agency in 2020.last_img read more