- Anthony Davis has reportedly informed the Pelicans his preferred list of suitors. With the NBA trade deadline approaching, The Crossover ranked the best potential packages from his wish-list.
The Anthony Davis trade saga has taken some intense twists and turns in the last few hours. Thanks to The Athletic's Shams Charania, we now know which teams are on Davis’s preferred list of destinations: the Lakers, Knicks, Bucks and Clippers. And thanks to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, we know the Pelicans are looking for a combo of young players, draft picks and cap relief in exchange for Davis. It’s still a little unclear how willing the Pelicans will be to deal Davis by Thursday’s trade deadline, but what could those teams conjure up in terms of offers based on New Orleans’s requirements? Here are some hypothetical packages the Lakers, Knicks, Bucks and Clips could put together—ranked in terms of most appealing for New Orleans.
4. Bucks Get: Anthony Davis, E’Twaun Moore
Pelicans Get: Eric Bledsoe, Khris Middleton, Thon Maker, Donte DiVincenzo, Malcolm Brogdon, 2023 First-Round Pick
This is the hardest trade to put together. Milwaukee doesn’t really have the right pieces to make this move. They don’t have enough young talent, and Middleton’s value to the Pelicans is almost zero because he’ll immediately become a giant flight risk in the summer. The Bucks would probably have to blow up their whole team to make a compelling offer, to the point where teaming up AD and the Greek Freak would almost (almost!) not be worth it. The only reason Milwaukee even briefly considers the absurd package above is because of rarely the team is mentioned as a landing spot for top talent, let alone a potential Hall-of-Famer who hasn’t turned 26 yet. Ultimately, the only way Davis ends up on the Bucks this season is if at least a third team gets involved, and things get freaky.
3. Clippers Get: Anthony Davis, E’Twaun Moore
Pelicans Get: Tobias Harris, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jerome Robinson, Marcin Gortat, 2021 First-Round Pick, 2023 First-Round Pick
The Clippers do this deal if they want to be guaranteed one star for next season, with a chance at adding a second star if they can deal some other movable contracts. Would the Pelicans do this? New Orleans can acquire Harris’s Bird Rights, but may not want to give him a big contract even if he wants to stay. SGA and Robinson are interesting prospects (the former much more so than the latter), but aren’t guaranteed to be stars. Gortat is merely an expiring contract. I don’t think this is enough to get it done for New Orleans, and the Clippers—like New York—may prize their flexibility. If I’m Lawrence Frank and Jerry West, I’m putting the offer on the table and seeing what happens.
2. Knicks Get: Anthony Davis, E’Twaun Moore
Pelicans Get: Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina, Enes Kanter, Mario Hezonja, 2019 First-Round Pick, 2021 First-Round Pick
This deal is incredibly boom or bust. If the Knicks win the lottery and that pick gets sent to New Orleans, this could arguably be the best offer on the table for the Pels. But New York is far from guaranteed to win the Zion Williamson sweepstakes, and the draft is supposed to be a little weak even one pick after he goes. Knox is a solid prospect, while Ntilikina would appear to have a long way to go. I’m not sure either team wants to do this one. The Knicks probably believe they’re signing two stars this summer, and they can theoretically add Zion to that core instead. The Pelicans can hold out for better players and take their own chances in the lottery.
1. Lakers Get: Anthony Davis, Solomon Hill
Pelicans Get: Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley, Lance Stephenson, 2019 First-Round Pick, 2021 First-Round Pick
This offer has been floated out by the LA Times’ Brad Turner, and this is at the very top of what L.A. can offer outside of literally parting with every last prospect on the roster. (This is basically everyone except Josh Hart.) I’m sure the Lakers don’t want to give up both Kuzma and Ingram, but you could argue the frontcourt would be too crowded with Davis, LeBron, and Kuzma on the same roster. The Pelicans could possibly get a more attractive offer from Boston in the summer, with Jayson Tatum being the surest bet among targets around the league. But if the Celtics are truly scared away from making an offer (which is the obvious objective of Klutch Sports), then this is likely the best package any team is capable and willing to give up for Davis. It’s definitely steep for the Lakers. It’s very steep. But after getting burned by Paul George and being unable make a move for Kawhi Leonard, Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka may not want to miss out on another star. An offer like this would almost definitely get it done.