Davis’ four-team wishlist as Lakers get ‘serious’
The biggest storyline of this NBA trade deadline has been Anthony Davis, and that doesn't look like it's going to end soon.
The latest in the saga is Davis's management giving the New Orleans Pelicans a list of teams the big-man is willing to sign long-term with, should he be traded.
We've known that the Los Angeles Lakers were at the top of the list - and the Boston Celtics weren't on it at all - but now, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania, you can add the New York Knicks, Milwaukee Bucks, and Los Angeles Clippers to the group.
Davis requested a trade just over a week ago, and it's been clear form the start that he and his agent, Rich Paul, have been angling for the multiple-time All-Star to be dealt to the Lakers.
Thankfully, for them, the Lakers appear to be taking the trade talks a bit more seriously.
The latest from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski is that the Lakers' talks with the Pelicans have become 'more serious', with Magic Johnson putting together a new package that includes 'multiple young players, multiple draft picks, and Pelicans salary cap relief'.
Executives from the two teams spoke today, with the hopes of advancing on a deal, but there's no word on how those talks progressed.
The context behind all of this, of course, is that Davis, 25, is one of the best players in the NBA, and has the opportunity to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2019-2020 season.
Both of these new developments were expected, and point in the same direction.
The decision of Klutch Sports Group, Davis's management, to give the Pelicans a list of preferred teams - teams he's willing to sign long-term with - appears to simply be for show.
The Knicks don't have the assets to trade for him, and neither do the Bucks; adding a small-market team to the list was sly but transparent. Then, there's the Clippers, who could put together a decent package, but with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander still unproven, and Tobias Harris a free agent-to-be, it's unlikely they can offer anything better than the Lakers.
With the Lakers' more 'serious' interest, it's likely the new offer was the group of young players that have been mentioned over the past week - led by Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma - the first round pick that's been reported, and potentially another first rounder. If the Lakers are willing to add two first rounders, while taking on an unattractive contract or two from the Pelicans, then that's obviously a lot closer to a deal Demps would be willing to make.
It's as clear as day that Davis wants to join LeBron James at the Lakers, and every move is bringing us closer to that. We'll have to wait and see whether Johnson, Rob Pelinka, and co. can put together a package the Pelicans are happy with.
Olgun Uluc covers basketball for Fox Sports Australia. Twitter: @OlgunUluc