The main storyline heading into the trade deadline on Thursday is whether or not Anthony Davis will be a Laker.
The Lakers have shown they’re seriously desperate to land Davis before the deadline, sending multiple offers to the Pelicans including the majority of their young core, multiple first rounders, and multiple veteran players. The Pelicans aren’t really taking the offers from LA as seriously as they should be. If they wait, the only team that truly loses is the Pelicans. However, there is one man in the NBA who is banking on LA missing out on Davis before the deadline.
As a Boston fan, Ainge is the best in the business. If you’re on the end of a trade with Ainge, you’ll realise in a year or two after, you have been seriously ripped off. He seems to always be one or more steps ahead of everyone and once again, he is proving this with his tactics around Los Angeles, New Orleans and Davis.
It has been quite clear for some time now that Ainge has been creating a war chest over the past few years to get Davis. The man himself has even admitted so multiple times over the past season and a half. However, he didn’t plan on Davis stating he will not re-sign with Boston long term, basically ruling Boston out of the trade, as Ainge is too smart of a businessman to go and throw all his assets at a year rental.
So, with the news that Davis doesn’t want to be in Boston, has Ainge sat around and done nothing?
No, he hasn’t.
He’s been on the phone with the Pelicans telling them to wait until the summer to deal Davis as Boston have an offer they cannot refuse.
Ainge might not actually offer New Orleans the deal we all expect. Instead, he wants the Pelicans to keep Davis as long as possible as it hurts the chances that LA has to form a big three around LeBron, Davis and a free agent in the summer.
I completely understand the fact that some free agents will want to go to Staples Center to link up with LeBron James. However, being able to say you’ll be playing with both LeBron and Anthony Davis is definitely a bigger selling point, especially to a certain free agent called Kyrie Irving.
There is also a flaw in the plan of Ainge – the Lakers may end up losing less in the summer rather than desperately bidding for him now. That doesn’t mean the Lakers will get Davis on the cheap, especially considering his current contract doesn’t run out until 2020.
Also, waiting until the summer allows other teams to properly get packages together to present to New Orleans, such as the Clippers, the Bucks and the Knicks. The Knicks would be the most interesting as they would finally know if they hold the which pick they hold. That could be a very interesting thing for the Pelicans as they could draft R.J. Barrett or Zion Williamson to build their franchise around for the next decade.
All in all, Ainge has used his business brain to good use once again. He is currently playing chess whilst everyone else is playing checkers and it’s fantastic to watch. The next couple of days will be the be all and end all for his masterplan but either way, you have to rate his effort in stopping LA getting their big three together.