Pelicans Never Planned to Trade Anthony Davis, Get Back at Lakers
Everybody and their grandmama knew the New Orleans Pelicans were not willing to part ways with Anthony Davis.
At least not yet.
Nevertheless, the Los Angeles Lakers took their shot in what turned into a very public debacle that rubbed players the wrong way and created unnecessary tension in the locker-room. It was almost as if the Pelicans had plans to get back at the Lakers for the month of ongoing tampering that went unpunished by the league office.
It was clear from the start that due to the Derrick Rose Rule, it would be in the best interest of the Pelicans to hold off until the offseason to find a trade partner for their disgruntled superstar.
When Davis’ agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports made it public knowledge that Davis had no interest in signing on for the super-max, it became obvious that Davis had no plans of remaining in New Orleans long-term. He is under contract through next season at which point he holds a player-option, which he will more than likely decline allowing him to become a free agent and sign elsewhere.
So why did the Dell Demps and the Pelicans even entertain phone calls at the deadline?
Realistically, 29 other teams are interested in Davis, but since the Celtics have Kyrie Irving, they would not be able to provide the Pelicans with their best offer. That should tell the Pelicans that it is best to wait things out until they see all the top offers from each team lined up on the table right in front of them.
That being said, in this point in time, the Pelicans hold all the leverage. Understanding that and the fact that they still hold one of the game’s generational talents for another year past this season, the Pelicans were essentially looking to absolutely rob a team of everything they own.
This is exactly what happened in their trade talks with the Lakers.
Rumours have been circulating all week and it is fairly predictable as to who stirred up most of them. The Pelicans were looking to bring in a massive haul for the final year and a half of Davis’ contract. Those rumours included up to 6-8 first round picks, expiring contracts, and a whole batch of the Lakers young players, including Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, and Kyle Kuzma.
If for some very non-sensical reason Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka agreed to this deal, the Pelicans would come away with quite possibly the greatest haul in the history of sports trades, while the Lakers would deplete their entire roster and mortgage a large part of their future.
Again, the goal was never to trade Davis. It was to hype up the rumour mill, create drama in the Lakers dressing room and see how desperate Los Angeles was to acquire Davis.
The Lakers came away as losers at the deadline. With allegations that head coach Luke Walton and Michael Beasley engaged in a heated confrontation days before the deadline, moving away from Beasley was necessary and adding a young and talented player such as Ivica Zubac became the way the Lakers rid themselves of Beasley’s expiring contract.
Meanwhile, the Pelicans who definitely could have fetched a greater return for Nikola Mirotic, can patiently wait until the offseason where they can move on from Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday, while acquiring the necessary pieces to get started on a rebuild.
As for the Lakers, enjoy Mike Muscala.