It has been reported that Anthony Davis has requested a trade from the New Orlean Pelicans, according to his agent, Rich Paul, and the New York Knicks have been in serious talks about the Pelicans star forward.
The 2019 NBA draft has been a hot topic for the New York Knicks, who are currently tied for the number one, two, and three pick at 14.0 percent, with the new draft reform. Zion Williamson is obviously on a tier higher than the rest of the draft prospects, but is no guarantee for the Knicks with the equal lottery odds, and also since we have not seen Williamson play in the NBA (though he seems like a can’t miss, sure fire prospect).
Anthony Davis has also made it clear that he will stay with the team for the rest of the season, which could work to the Knicks benefit, if this were to take place after the lottery selection. Only issue would be that some players that are unrestricted free agents will be not open for trading.
All of these following trades are made in regard to this upcoming offseason. For restricted free agents, these players can be used in sign-and-trades, and will be made available.
With all that said, where do the Knicks stand in assets relative to the rest of potential Davis suitors? An obvious destination will be the Los Angeles Lakers, which have a plethora of assets, but not much in the way of depth. A trade made by the Lakers might not be in Davis’s best interest as he would have the dilemma of building the bench. A combo of LeBron James and Davis would make this the most enticing aspect.
• Anthony Davis
The Lakers would be giving up a lot for arguably the best power forward/center in the NBA, but that might be what it takes to pull off this trade. Possibly acquiring Jahlil Okafor for the Lakers could make this more enticing, but that would be up to the Pelicans and their organizational standing with the former Duke center.
According to NBA insider Chris Haynes for Yahoo Sports, the Celtics will not be a preferred destination for the Pelicans’ big man. As for the Raptors, there has been no report of Davis not being interested in the team. With that being said, a trade like this one could transpire:
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• Anthony Davis
• Jahlil Okafor
Whether Okafor is needed in this trade is up for question, but financially this trade works. Pascal Siakam has been making waves this season after spending most of last season in the G-League. Regardless, the Raptors will be replacing Siakam with Davis and getting some depth from Okafor.
For the Philadelphia 76ers, I don’t honestly see this as a great option now that the trade will likely happen over the offseason. Most of their contracts are expiring, and it’s doubtful that they are looking to part ways with either Jimmy Butler or Ben Simmons. A trade could be potentially made, but I think the Pelicans will look elsewhere unless one of those players are included in the deal.
The Knicks in this situation hold the keys to a likely top-three draft pick, depending on the lottery. With this and giving up assets to the New Orlean Pelicans could pull this trade through. One scenario provides the following:
• Anthony Davis
• Courtney Lee
• Emmanuel Mudiay
• Knicks’ First-Round Pick (Unprotected)
With this trade, it might be more beneficial to throw Frank Ntilikina or Trey Burke in there instead of Emmanuel Mudiay, but that can all be brought up in discussion. Financially this trade works, but this falls behind the Celtics and Lakers’ options, unless Kevin Knox or Mitchell Robinson join the fray.
Trading Kristaps Porzingis is off the table for obvious reasons. First off, it is unlikely Davis will stay in New York without Porzingis and without their lottery pick. The trade makes no sense for Davis who would be unlikely to resign when his contract expires in 2021.
Depending on whether it’s Courtney Lee or Tim Hardaway Jr. used in this trade, the Knicks could also have the option of signing a max contract over the summer. With Hardaway Jr. off the books, this would be more likely.
Most of this will be down to the Knicks’ draft stock when it comes time, and how much say Davis has in the destination he would like to go to. His preferred destinations will be the teams he would like to re-sign with, so if the Knicks are one of the last teams on the list, and Williamson is the primary target, look for a potential Porzingis-Davis duo to look forward to in the future.
Otherwise it may be tough to offer more than what the Lakers and Raptors and other possible teams have in terms of assets. Only time will tell.