Anthony Davis will not be a free agent until 2020 at the earliest, but the Lakers trade rumors are getting louder. There were whisperings after Davis signed with Klutch Sports which is run by James’ friend Rich Paul. Those rumblings got louder after James spoke publicly about being for the Lakers trading for Davis.
“That would be amazing,” James told ESPN on the Davis’ trade rumors. “That would be amazing, like, duh. That would be incredible.”
According to The Athletic, all this is part of an elaborate plan by James to try to lure Davis to Los Angeles.
“They are just making sure that AD knows he is still in their plans and they want him,” an NBA executive told The Athletic. “Bron is too smart to act innocent on this one.”
As for Davis, he is not taking the bait as the Pelicans big man continues to emphasize that he is focused on this season in New Orleans. ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported that Davis seems unconcerned with James’ public comments.
“I don’t really care,” Davis noted to ESPN. “Obviously, it’s cool to hear any high-caliber player say they want to play with me. But my job is to turn this team around. If we’re 15-17, that means I’m not doing my job…When that time comes, of course we will see. I love my teammates. I love New Orleans. I love the fans. I talk their slang. I love their food.”
The Pelicans Have No Motivation to Trade Anthony Davis
The Lakers rumors are entertaining, but the Pelicans have no motivation to trade Davis. For starters, Davis is under contract through 2021, with a player option to opt out in 2020. This means Davis will not be a free agent for another year and a half.
The Pelicans are not a premier free agent destination so they are going to do everything in their power to hang on to Davis. It is hard to imagine the Lakers offering anything close to market value for Davis. Since he is not a free agent this summer a deal is unlikely.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported the Lakers would be wise to try to trade for Davis before the Celtics can offer a better package.
If Davis felt the same way James did and wants to be a Laker, his best move would be to ask for a trade now before the Boston Celtics are allowed to get into the bidding. The Celtics, with a possible four first-round picks in the 2019 draft plus a bevy of young prospects, have a serious interest in trading for Davis if he ever becomes available.
They might be able to outbid almost anyone if it came to that. But the Celtics can’t trade for Davis now because teams are forbidden from trading for two “designated” players at the same time. They already have one, Kyrie Irving, and Davis is another. The term refers to the types of contract extensions they signed.
Windhorst also reported that Davis has not indicated he wants to be traded and the Pelicans are looking to surround their big man with better players.
The Pelicans aren’t interested in trading Davis and instead have been engaged in trade talks to try to improve their team around him. They are currently in 12th in the standings but, as is the nature of the Western Conference, they are just three games out of fourth place…Certainly they recognize their situation with Davis is tenuous, and they feel the pressure. But they absolutely want to get to the summer, when they can potentially offer Davis a supermax extension that would potentially pay him $70 million more than he can get anywhere else. If they do have to face the reality of a trade at some point down the line — a definite possibility if Davis rejects the extension — they would want to make sure the Celtics are able to make a bid.
Some GM’s Believe LeBron & the Lakers Are Tampering
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that some NBA GM’s believe James’ comments are tampering, and the Lakers should be punished. There has been no indication that the Pelicans have filed a formal complaint with the league office.
In the wake of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James publicly endorsing pursuit of a trade for Anthony Davis, several small-market general managers are privately expressing outrage over what they believe is the NBA’s unwillingness to enforce the league’s tampering rules…
“If these are the rules, enforce them,” one Western Conference GM told ESPN. “If you want to push Anthony Davis in LA, if you allow LeBron to interfere with teams, then just do it. Change the rules, and say “It’s the wild, wild west and anything goes.
“But give us a list of the rules that you’re enforcing, and give us a list of the rules that you’re going to ignore.”