Lakers are reportedly ‘determined’ to acquire Anthony Davis
The Anthony Davis sweepstakes have officially opened, as the star big man has informed the New Orleans Pelicans he will not sign an extension with the team and wants to be traded. If the Pelicans grant his request before the Feb. 7 trade deadline, he may be destined to end up with the Los Angeles Lakers.
However, it probably makes more sense for New Orleans to wait until after the season. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Lakers are “determined” to acquire Davis, but that may be true of multiple teams. Woj also notes that the Pelicans have expressed no desire to deal the five-time All-Star before the trade deadline.
Even with Davis finally coming out and asking for a trade, the Pelicans will probably hold off on dealing him. The Boston Celtics can offer arguably the best package for him, as they have accumulated multiple first-round draft picks and have starting-caliber players like Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier. New Orleans would almost certainly ask for Jayson Tatum, but it seems unlikely that Boston will part with him. The issue for the Celtics is that NBA rules prevent them from acquiring Davis before the offseason.
Like Kyrie Irving, Davis signed a contract extension under the “Rose Rule” when he was still playing on his rookie deal. NBA regulations prevent teams from acquiring a second player who is playing under a “Rose Rule” contract until the first player they acquired — in this case Irving — signs a new deal or becomes a free agent. Irving is set to become a free agent in July and will likely re-sign with Boston, but they cannot trade for Davis until that happens.
With all that in mind, it seems like waiting until the offseason to trade Davis would allow the Pelicans to get the most value in return. Even if Davis doesn’t end up going to the Celtics, New Orleans will want them involved to drive up the price. Of course, the Celtics and Pelicans could always agree to a deal before the deadline, have Boston draft the players New Orleans wants in the draft, and then execute the trade when league rules permit.
From the Lakers’ perspective, trying as hard as possible to acquire Davis prior to the Feb. 7 deadline makes sense. It seems like LeBron James has already been doing his part to get a head start on that.