The Anthony Davis era is coming to an end in New Orleans, as he has officially requested a trade from the Pelicans, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. Davis has spent his entire seven-year career in New Orleans and has led the Pels to two playoff berths including a second-round exit to the Warriors last season. The Pelicans have posted a disappointing 22-28 record so far and it seems to be the last straw for Davis. Although he's on the shelf with a finger injury, he's had his best season to date, recording 29.3 points and 13.3 rebounds along with 2.6 blocks per game. The Pelicans have a roster full of talented players like Davis, Jrue Holiday, and Julius Randle, but just haven't been able to get anything going in the tough Western Conference, partly due to poor coaching and a shallow bench crew. Davis has said he wants to go to a contender and win rather than make money, but ultimately the Pelicans will ship him to whoever gives him the best deal, whether it's now or in the off-season. Here's a group of teams that can make the best offer for The Brow, and some potential suitors for him down the road.
Los Angeles Lakers
We'll start by getting the most obvious team out of the way as Los Angeles has been linked to Davis for a very long time. LeBron and the Lakers know that they need another superstar in order for this team to be in title contention and Anthony Davis is the perfect solution to this problem. The Lakers are out of the playoff picture by a couple of games and adding Davis would make them a contender instantly for the long run (as long as Davis agrees to a contract extension). The Lakers have plenty of young talent they can trade away to the Pelicans, but they don't have any expensive salaries to match the $25 million that Davis carries, so they may have to part ways with more young talent than expected. It has already been reported that the beginning blocks for a Davis trade must include Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac, and a first-round pick. These are just the beginning requirements, as the Pelicans are going to want the absolute most from the Lakers if they are going to ship Davis there. And the Lakers should be willing to give up the farm for The Brow. With this deal, the Lakers get the superstar they need and the Pelicans pick up plenty of young pieces to start a rebuild.
Lakers Receive: Anthony Davis, 2020 2nd-rd pick
Pelicans Receive: Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac, Michael Beasley, Svi Mykhailiuk, 2019 1st-rd pick.
If we're being honest, the Raptors are arguably playing the best basketball we've ever seen from them, and that's partly due to the departure of DeMar DeRozan in exchange for Kawhi Leonard, who has played incredible this year. Other players like Jonas Valanciunas and Pascal Siakam have stepped up their game as well. However, Toronto has an opportunity to build a defensive monster of a team if they decide to pursue Davis. They don't have the picks that would entice the Pelicans, but they do have proven young players and veterans who can step right in and create a quick rebuilding phase. Doing this would also keep Davis out of the West and away from the Lakers, which is something it seems like they want to do. Plus, all of the young players in the deal still have at least one more year before they hit restricted free agency, so the Pelicans could have enough time to figure out if these players match their long-term plans. Another positive for Toronto: doing this deal could show Kawhi Leonard that they are committed to building a championship contender, which could lead to extensions for both Kawhi and AD.
Raptors Receive: Anthony Davis, Tim Frazier
Pelicans Receive: Pascal Siakam, Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, OG Anunoby, Malachi Richardson, 2019 2nd-rd pick, 2021 1st-rd pick
Similar to the Raptors, the Nuggets are playing the best basketball we've seen since the Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups days. But, if Davis says he wants to go to a contender, there are only so many contenders that can put up a reasonable offer for him. The Nuggets can be one of those teams, with plenty of young talent on their roster at almost every position. Pairing Nikola Jokic with Davis would be very interesting to watch, as we never saw the full effect of the Davis-DeMarcus Cousins duo. Jokic is much different than Cousins, and he could set up so many scoring opportunities for Davis. They will have to likely part ways with young prospects like Gary Harris and Michael Porter Jr. (who can definitely still be a great player in this league), but if the Nuggets want to put all the chips on the table and become a true championship contender, then trading for Anthony Davis would be a perfect way to do that.
Nuggets Receive: Anthony Davis, E'Twaun Moore, Solomon Hill
Pelicans Receive: Gary Harris, Paul Millsap, Michael Porter Jr., Torrey Craig, 2021 1st-rd pick, 2024 1st-rd pick, 2023 2nd-rd pick
There was a report that came out today that said Davis doesn't have the Celtics high on his list and that Kyrie Irving might decide to move somewhere else in free agency, but I'm not really buying those rumors. Kyrie has already came out multiple times and said he wants to stay in Boston and sign an extension, so I don't think he'll change his mind, especially if Anthony Davis could possibly be on the roster next season. I'm also aware that the Celtics can't trade for Davis because of the Rose Rule, but it's more likely that he's traded in the off-season anyways, and the C's can make a trade for Davis and re-sign Kyrie Irving in the summer to form a very scary team. Davis would be a perfect fit in Boston, as they are a poor rebounding team and Davis would reverse that instantly. Their interior defense would be one of the best in the league, Davis would be able to kill defenses from any angle, and the Celtics would have the best big man on their roster since Kevin Garnett. They would have to give up young players and picks back, and New Orleans is definitely going to want a haul back. The Sacramento and Memphis picks would more than likely be involved, which will both be lottery picks, with the Memphis one possibly going in the top 5. They will have to add at least one young player as well, and Celtics fans will kill me for this, but Jayson Tatum will probably be that player. The Celtics have an abundance of wings, and they can't give up on Gordon Hayward after one year, and Jaylen Brown doesn't hold as much value as Tatum does. While losing Tatum would hurt, moving him would allow him to be a #1 option in New Orleans and really develop, and if it means that Anthony Davis will sign a long-term extension in Beantown, then it's worth it. If Davis is still on the Pelicans by the end of the trade deadline, then assume he is going to Boston.
Celtics Receive: Anthony Davis, Frank Jackson
Pelicans Receive: Jayson Tatum, Robert Williams, 2019 SAC 1st-rd pick, 2019 MEM 1st-rd pick, 2021 BOS 1st-rd pick
Bonus: Phoenix Suns Trade for Jrue Holiday
If Anthony Davis is on his way out, I'm expecting the Pelicans to undergo a rebuild and unload most of their veterans. Jrue Holiday will be one of the players that should be available, and if he is, the Suns should jump at any possibility of trading for him. He is exactly what the Suns need in so many ways:
- A point guard
- A veteran point guard
- Good shooter and distributor
- A POINT GUARD
- Great Defensively
- Good Leader with some playoff experience
- Did I mention he is a point guard?
The Suns have plenty of wings on their team: and the Pelicans are a team that need impact wings for the future in the worst way. The Suns should stray away from trading rookie stud Mikal Bridges and Josh Jackson, and they just recently acquired Kelly Oubre Jr. This leaves T.J. Warren, who is a scoring machine and is under contract for another 4 years at a reasonable $11 million a season. The Suns could add rookie PG Elie Okobo as a potential replacement for Holiday (he's shown flashes of potential throughout the season) as well as some picks, and it's a trade that works perfectly for both sides. The Pelicans get younger and obtain more assets, while the Suns fix a wing logjam, move Devin Booker to his natural shooting guard position, and finally get a good point guard. The last thing the Suns want is for the same situation that is happening with Anthony Davis to happen to Devin Booker, so it's time to surround him with some proven talent and create a winning atmosphere once again in Phoenix.
Suns Receive: Jrue Holiday, Solomon Hill, Wesley Johnson
Pelicans Receive: T.J. Warren, Elie Okobo, Dragan Bender, Ryan Anderson, 2019 MIL 1st-rd pick, 2020 PHX 2nd-rd pick