The countdown to an Anthony Davis trade is ticking again. According to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Pelicans center is a part of trade negotiations between the Pelicans and a pair of suitors in the Lakers and Celtics.
Davis’ agent Rich Paul, also a longtime collaborator with LeBron James, told Sports Illustrated yesterday that he prefers that his client go to Los Angeles over Boston. This is reheating the trade rumors that would team Davis up with James, which reached fever pitch at last February’s trade deadline.
If this deal to the Lakers strikes purple and gold this time around, some analysts predict big things for the franchise. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith went as far to say that Los Angeles will win the 2020 NBA Finals with a Davis-James coupling.
“First of all, understand this,” he said on First Take, “Kevin Durant won’t be around to contend with in all likelihood. We’re not talking about Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant together, and LeBron and AD would have to overcome that…but if you’re telling me that LeBron James has Anthony Davis available to him, excuse me, but I’m rolling with the Lakers to win the title…immediately.”
While the Lakers went 37-45 last year to miss their sixth straight postseason, Smith points out that the team was at one point humming and well within the playoff picture until James went out with his groin injury midseason.
“LeBron doesn’t go down for 17 straight games, when he went down, they were the No. 4 team in the West,” he continued. He also argued that Los Angeles would win against the Eastern Conference’s big men with a talent such as Davis.
Last season, the 26-year old averaged 25.9 points and 12 rebounds for the Pelicans. That combines well with James’ 27.4 points, 8.5 boards and 8.3 assists per contest.
Who Leaves Los Angeles for Anthony Davis?
According to Wojnarowski, the deal hinges on Los Angeles and New Orleans finding a third team that is willing to take the Lakers’ No. 4 NBA Draft pick, as well as send a major player to New Orleans.
According to Christian Rivas at Silver Screen and Roll, one of those options is Wizards guard Bradley Beal.
The Wizards made Beal, along with everyone on their roster, available in November and after underwhelming with their current core for the past few seasons, it might finally be time for Washington to blow it up. They took their first step towards doing that when they traded Otto Porter to the Chicago Bulls in February, and while they’d surely like to get off of John Wall’s colossal contract, Beal is a more realistic option to jettison.
Rivas also suggests sending more assets such as Kyle Kuzma to the Pelicans. Back in April, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka reportedly told Kuzma he wouldn’t be traded.
On the flip side, Real GM is reporting that the Pelicans “covet Kuzma the most.”
The Lakers do not want to include Kuzma, but might be able to keep the No. 4 pick if they trade him.
Darius Garland has been heavily linked to the Lakers and is also represented by Rich Paul.
Pelicans president David Griffin was not shy about his admiration for Kuzma and Ingram when he was an NBA TV analyst. It seems he is trying to leverage Davis to bring in the two Lakers scorers to complement their prospective No. 1 pick in Zion Williamson.