Five Potential Trades for Anthony Davis

    Anthony Davis requested a trade from the Pelicans Monday morning, citing the desire to play for a contending team. New Orleans is now on the clock to make

    January 28, 2019

    Anthony Davis requested a trade from the Pelicans Monday morning, citing the desire to play for a contending team. New Orleans is now on the clock to make a move and land the best return possible for its superstar, ideally before the trade deadline on February 7.

    Let’s take a closer look at Davis’ potential landing spots.

    [RELATED: Anthony Davis Requests Trade From Pelicans]

    The Lakers are considered the front-runners to acquire Davis because his agent is Rich Paul, who just so happens to represent LeBron James. James also stoked the fire earlier this season when he said he’d like to play with Davis, drawing the ire of the league with many calling for tampering charges. Los Angeles has the assets, but their young players have played horrendously over the last three weeks without James.

    Lakers send Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Ivica Zubac, unprotected 2019 and 2021 first-round picks to Pelicans for Anthony Davis

    This is not a terrible haul for the Pelicans, considering they get three young assets (Ingram, Hart, Zubac) and two unprotected first-round picks. Caldwell-Pope is another Klutch client, potentially complicating the situation. He also must consent to the trade, as he would lose his Bird rights in the trade. Caldwell-Pope is trying to regain his value and he would get a better opportunity to showcase that in New Orleans. The Pelicans can alternatively ask for Lonzo Ball or Kyle Kuzma in the combination of players, but the Lakers might not want to part with them.

    Warriors send Draymond Green, Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell, unprotected 2019, 2021 and 2023 first-round picks to Pelicans for Anthony Davis

    Golden State has no real reason to trade for Davis. The Warriors are the clear title favorites with a healthy DeMarcus Cousins, but they’re going to have a decision to make this offseason with Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant. Thompson has maintained his desire to stay in the Bay Area — and so has Green — but Durant is the wild card in this scenario. If he intends to stay, the Warriors will be faced with a mammoth luxury tax bill and a decision to make. Given Green and Durant’s scrap from earlier this season, the Warriors could ship the former out and make way for Davis. This is not a great return for the Pelicans, but Green represents an opportunity to quickly turn things around. New Orleans would likely ask for Thompson in this type of swap and the Warriors would hang up the phone. The Pelicans shouldn’t do this deal, but they might not have a choice if no other team steps up to the table.

    Raptors send Jonas Valanciunas, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam to Pelicans for Anthony Davis

    Toronto is all-in for this season. The Raptors made the trade for Kawhi Leonard with this year in mind, so why not up the ante and go for Davis as well? Toronto is already at the top of the Eastern Conference, but adding Davis would make the Raptors the clear-cut favorites to make the NBA Finals. Toronto swept the Warriors in the regular season, but that means nothing in the playoffs. Davis would give the Raptors the third star they have lacked for the last four seasons, while the Pelicans get three young players back, including a red-hot Pascal Siakam. He’s having a career season and is a contender for Most Improved Player. Anunoby is a strong wing defender who has developed into a decent shooter, but needs more opportunities to really take off. Valanciunas gets the chance to rebuild his reputation after failing to become Toronto’s third star. The Pelicans could ask for a first-round pick, but the Raptors likely can’t convey a selection until 2021. They would definitely like to keep that pick if Leonard and, in this scenario, Davis both bolt in free agency.

    Pacers send Thaddeus Young, Tyreke Evans, Domantas Sabonis, Aaron Holiday and 2019 unprotected first-round pick to Pelicans for Anthony Davis

    Sabonis has been an all-around stud this season. He’s averaging 14.8 points and 9.5 rebounds per game while shooting 61.6 percent from the floor. He’s the type of young player New Orleans can build around if it parts with Davis. Holiday is enjoying a solid rookie season and will be re-united with his brother Jrue to form a dependable backcourt. Young and Evans are good veteran players, but they’re also on expiring contracts. The Pacers are trying to find a way to remain at the top of the East playoff picture with Oladipo sidelined. Davis and Myles Turner create a formidable combination in the frontcourt and would create a “Big 3” with Oladipo next season. With Oladipo’s bargain contract, the Pacers can accommodate Davis into their book without serious luxury tax implications. Indiana could become one of those “sleeper” teams that make a serious push for AD.

    Knicks send Enes Kanter, Mario Hezonja, Frank Ntilikina, Mitchell Robinson, 2019 and 2021 unprotected first-round picks to Pelicans for Anthony Davis

    I know Davis said he wants to go to a contending team and the Knicks are not good this year, but New York has something few contending teams outside Boston do: a high lottery pick. The Knicks’ 2019 first-round pick could potentially be the top overall selection and the Pelicans will tank without Davis, meaning New Orleans could have two very high picks in the 2019 NBA Draft. Ntilikina has struggled to develop in New York and could fit well defensively next to Jrue Holiday. Robinson is a young defensive force that could blossom with extended minutes, while Kanter’s contract is expiring. Hezonja hasn’t been able to shoot at will in New York, but an expanded role in New Orleans could help the former No. 5 overall pick redeem his value, and the Pelicans could let him walk in free agency if he didn’t impress. Yes, the Knicks said earlier this season that they weren’t going to sacrifice draft picks for marginal gains, but Davis is a franchise player. Put him next to Kristaps Porzingis and Kevin Knox in New York and the Knicks could suddenly be an enticing free agent destination this summer.

    While Davis has battled injuries throughout his entire career, he’s proven to be an MVP candidate when healthy. Because of that, the Pelicans might not feel the need to trade him before the deadline if they don’t receive an offer that they like. It also helps that the loaded Celtics will presumably be in the running for AD once their “Rose Rule” clause for Kyrie Irving expires in the offseason.

    With all these potential scenarios, good luck predicting where the five-time NBA All-Star ends up.

    MORE: Bulls Acquire Carmelo Anthony, Intend to Waive Him

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