The hunt for Anthony Davis is already heating up despite the Pelicans star having a year left on his contract. NBA superstars have not been shy about letting Davis know they're interested in playing with him. LeBron James told ESPN having Davis as a teammate “would be amazing,” while Giannis Antetokounmpo told AD as he exited the arena after Wednesday night's game to "Come to the Bucks."
Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry said on Wednesday: "We’re not trading him. I can say that to the world. We’re not gonna trade him, no matter what. That’s not an option. It doesn’t matter what anybody says or does. We’re not trading Anthony Davis.”
Davis is under contract with the Pelicans for $27.1 million next season and has a player option for 2020-2021 that is worth $28.8 million.
On the latest episode of the Open Floor podcast, Andrew Sharp and The Washington Post’s Ben Golliver examine trade possibilities for Davis and whether Golden State makes sense as a destination.
(Listen to the latest Open Floor podcast here. The following transcript has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Ben Golliver: I watched the LeBron James vs. Dwyane Wade last dance in L.A. and as I was watching it unfold there was a lot of poignant moments, none more so when LeBron just flat out told reporters, “I needed Dwyane Wade to win a title. If I didn’t have Dwyane Wade, I wouldn’t have been able to win at the highest level.” I am sitting there thinking, like, LeBron was 25 when he made that decision when he was on stage with Jim Gray. Anthony Davis is already older today than LeBron was when he made "The Decision".
We have talked about Anthony Davis as this prodigy and this incredible talent and what he is going to be in five years, but in reality, he is at that same exact point of his life as LeBron was when he went on to that stage. The only difference is that he's got an extra year on his contract. But I think you can make a really strong argument that the extra year doesn’t really matter anymore.
When you are entering that last year in your deal, if you have a decision you want to make, if you want to push yourself to a certain team, you are practically a free agent. That is what got my wheels turning. Who is going to be Anthony Davis’s Dwyane Wade? If I was a superstar around the league, aren’t you making the same pitch to Anthony Davis that Wade made to LeBron? Come here and win a title. Get the monkey off your back. I think we should have this conversation, who are the aspiring Dwyane Wade’s here?
Andrew Sharp: Ultimately it comes down to Kyrie and LeBron engaging in a cold war over Anthony Davis. I think that is going to be a really interesting subplot. Then you have Rich Paul thrown into the mix kind of as the wild card that could potentially sway Anthony Davis in this battle before it begins. Then you also have the Pelicans sitting there; they are going to have some say in this. If they look at Brandon Ingram and are not interested, which is a fair assessment after the first couple months, I think he can be better somewhere else. But he may not be an All-Star or All-NBA player and it sort of depends on your perspective there.
They could prefer Jaylen Brown, they could prefer Jayson Tatum, so it may come down to the Celtics rolling the dice on a year of Anthony Davis without any long-term commitments and betting that they could re-sign him.
I do feel bad for the Pelicans because I feel like they have gotten screwed this year. They had Elfrid Payton go down with the ankle injury, now Julius Randle is hurt. They have had some bad luck including last season.
Golliver: Why is it just Boston and L.A. in your playing field? Should we expand? Isn’t Golden State a potential player here?
Sharp: I don’t see it. Golden State has wanted Anthony Davis for a long time, that’s not a secret. But I just don’t understand the mechanics of how that move would happen. Are you basically trading Draymond Green with a year left on his deal and selling the Pelicans on that package? I don’t see them being able to sign Klay Thompson then turnaround and trade him. I am not sure how it gets done.
Golliver: Are you trading Boogie back?Look, I don’t know, that is a good question. It is tricky but I am just thinking we know how this works, it starts with what the stars want. I am trying to put myself into Anthony Davis’s mind.