Completely disregarding all of Alvin Gentry’s claims throughout this past week, teams around the NBA remain infatuated with the premise of landing All-World forward Anthony Davis. The near 7-footer from Kentucky is a potential franchise-altering star that has showcased the ability to be the best player on a championship winning team. Every team in the league dreams of bringing Davis aboard, but few have the assets, savvy, or cap flexibility to do so.
In all likelihood, the Pelicans hold on to the 24-year old until his contract expires in 2022, but that didn’t stop us from conjuring up three potential scenarios that could play out:
Davis to Beantown
Pelicans receive: Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, Aron Baynes, Terry Rozier, 2018 or 2019 First-round pick (via LAL)
Celtics receive: Anthony Davis, Omer Asik
The only reason the Davis trade rumor mill exists is because of the Celtics. GM Danny Ainge has endlessly worked to piece this roster together — combining top-notch draft scouting with shrewdly executed trades. With Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward (who will eventually return), Ainge’s Celtics have room for one more All-Star to transition into a legitimate title contender.
It’ll take some tough decision-making on Ainge’s part. Defensive stalwart Al Horford will likely have to be in the deal — and New Orleans would want the Celtics to take on Omer Asik’s abomination of a contract. In return, the Cetlics ship over the hyper-active Brown and Rozier — as well as the pick from the Lakers.
If the Celtics could conceivably pull off a deal without shipping off Jayson Tatum, Ainge won’t hesitate to pull the trigger.
Magic Lands a Superstar
Pelicans receive: Brandon Ingram, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, 2020 First-round pick
Lakers receive: Anthony Davis, Darius Miller
With all of the talk about Paul George coming to town, it would behoove the Lakers to upgrade their roster elsewhere. After all, the 27-year old George might not be patient enough for the LA core to grow.
Clarkson and Randle have long been rumored to be on the trade block. However, the real prize in the deal is the 20-year old Ingram. Ingram is far from a finished product, though he’s shown significant signs of improvement in his second year. Getting to the basket is already routine given his length and solid handle. If he ever becomes a consistent knock-down shooter, Ingram could develop into an elite scorer.
Davis is a dream haul for Magic Johnson’s Lakers. His ability to score, defend, and run the floor would work excellently alongside Lonzo Ball in Luke Walton’s up-tempo system.
The King and The Brow
Pelicans receive: Kevin Love, Jae Crowder, Cedi Osman, 2018 First-round pick (via BKN)
Cavaliers receive: Anthony Davis, Dante Cunningham
Potentially losing to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals for the third time in four years looms over the Cavaliers franchise. Cleveland simply isn’t as good as they were last season. On the other hand, the Warriors continue to improve on a nightly basis. To strengthen their chances of competing for the championship —
while simultaneously getting LeBron to stick around for a couple more years — Cleveland needs a roster boost.
Love is the obvious choice to center the deal around. A DeMarcus Cousins-Love frontcourt actually makes sense in a lot of ways given their contrasting styles. Crowder was expected to be a bigger contributor, but just hasn’t panned out on the offensive end. Crowder and his incredibly friendly contract could see an uptick in production with a change of scenery. In return, the Cavs add Dante Cunningham. He’s a bit more of a tweener than Crowder, but can do some of the same things. Cedi Osman is the only early 20’s asset on Cleveland’s entire roster.
Brooklyn’s pick is a bit polarizing at the moment. The Nets have exceeded expectations by playing energized basketball throughout the year. They’re currently registered as the seventh-worst team. This could change rather quickly — as the bottom of the league is very cluttered. The last place team (Sacramento Kings) and 12th place team (New York Knicks) are separated by just six games in the loss column. Brooklyn’s draft slot will be fluctuating throughout the year. However, that’s the type of gamble the Pelicans would have to take if they had any serious interest in trading Davis.
We’d be inclined to believe Gentry’s claim that Davis won’t be on the move anytime soon. Recovering as a franchise after trading away a player of his caliber is no easy task. It’s clear, however, that a heap of teams could make some compelling offers.