Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, said “Anthony wants to be traded to a team that allows him a chance to win consistently and compete for a championship, Anthony wanted to be honest and clear with his intentions and that’s the reason for informing them of this decision now. That’s in the best interests of both Anthony’s and the organization’s future.”
Davis is eligible for the $240 million supermax extension this offseason. This was introduced to help small-market teams retain their superstars. Kawhi Leonard was eligible for the same contract last summer, but he ended up requesting a trade. Of course, they were different circumstances.
Wojnarowski added that New Orleans have shown no desire to trade Davis before the upcoming 7th February trade deadline.
This news comes days after Jackie MacMullan said “LeBron’s camp would prefer a coaching change. They’re not too subtle about that.” on The Hoop Collective podcast.
It has been expected for some time that Davis would ask for a trade. The timing is perhaps surprising, though, as it seemed likely he would wait until summer, giving the Pelicans a final chance to surround him with talent. His request will see the Pelicans flip to a rebuild when they eventually trade him.
Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers are the two teams expected to battle it out to land Davis. Boston, because of Kyrie Irving‘s contract using the designated rookie exception, cannot trade for Davis until the offseason when Irving becomes a free agent. The Lakers can make a deal right now. It is worth noting that Paul is not just Davis’ agent, he is also a close friend and agent of LeBron James.
The Celtics can agree to a deal with the Pelicans in the coming days, but would have to wait until July to complete it. Danny Ainge has the ability to outbid the Lakers. He has a bag of picks he can offer, along with young talent like Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart.
Davis is an elite player, arguably in the top five in the NBA. Almost every team will give New Orleans a call. His free agency in 2020 will play a big part in negotiations, however, as teams will be less willing to send valuable assets to the Pelicans unless they receive at least a suggestion from Davis that he may re-sign with them. It is similar to the situation the Thunder were in with Paul George before the 2017/18 campaign.
The timing of Davis’ request, regardless of LeBron’s frustrations with Luke Walton, might suggest he favours a move to the Lakers, considering the Celtics are unable to trade for him at this point. It is not in New Orleans’ interest to deal their All-NBA star right now, they would be better off holding out for the summer and trying to force a bidding war between the historic rivals.
Months of speculation around a potential Davis trade are about to become reality. This saga could rumble on for months yet, but wherever he goes, it will change the dynamic of the NBA.