New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis is one of the most talented players in the entire NBA, although some casual fans might not know it because of how irrelevant his teams have been for the majority of his time in the league.
That irrelevancy has led to speculation that Davis will be the proverbial next disgruntled superstar on the move that the NBA always seems to have on the trading block somewhere. Although thus far Davis, who won’t be a free agent until July 2021, hasn’t shown much inclination to grouse his way out of the Big Easy.
When asked about the situation by Rachel Nichols of ESPN, Davis acknowledged that he’s heard other historical greats like Kevin Garnett publicly lament their decisions to not demand trades out of dire basketball situations sooner and wonders if he’ll suffer the same fate:
“When you hear that it makes you think. I’m not going to lie, it makes you think because you wonder if you’re following in that same path. But then again, you be like, ‘This year could be the year.’ You don’t know. So you just got to take it year-by-year and just see. See where the team is going, what direction they want to go to, and just see where their head is.”
If the direction the Pelicans want to go is towards just being a perennial playoff contender, however, Davis said that wouldn’t be good enough:
“No, it’s not. I’ve done that before, and nobody talks about it. Nobody talks about just making the playoffs. I feel like we could do more. We have to. They always say basketball is a game of runs. This might be our run. You don’t know. You’ve just got to play it out and see where it goes from there.”
Before Lakers fans start licking their chops and photoshopping Davis into purple and gold jerseys, there are a few things to keep in mind. One, the 2021 offseason is a long ways away, and the Pelicans could — at least in theory — build a title contender around Davis by then.
No matter how unlikely that seems, given that New Orleans doesn’t have a history of attracting free agents and has so far contented itself to pour money into players like Jrue Holiday and DeMarcus Cousins.
While the Lakers’ young core will be coming into their own by then, they’ll also be getting expensive at that point, and if the team’s plans go as they hope over this summer and next, they might have too much money tied up in big-name free agents to pursue Davis (even if that would be a good problem to have).
Davis’ future demands, or lack thereof, will remain a mystery for the time being, but if he is willing to start asking for a trade, then the Lakers, armed with their young core of Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma, among other young players, would appear to be in as good of a position to acquire him as any team.
It’s exactly the type of situation Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said the team could capitalize on with their newfound salary cap space.
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