‘Trade Ben’: NBA reacts to Davis demand
The Brow wants out.
Anthony Davis sent NBA teams scrambling to find assets and NBA scribes scribbling out trade rumours after informing the New Orleans Pelicans he wants to be dealt before the league's February 7 deadline.
Generational talents like Davis - who is only 25 and who finished third in MVP voting last season - don't come on the market very often and it predictably sent the NBA into meltdown. Don't let Kevin Durant tell you otherwise.
"AD wanted to play basketball somewhere else. It's not like the president shutting down the government. It's basketball," Durant told The Athletic.
Here's the best of the reaction and a look at where Davis might land.
One of the more outlandish responses came from Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Marcus Hayes, who posted a piece calling on the 76ers to pursue a Davis for Ben Simmons trade.
"Anthony Davis is a polished, motivated, complete stretch-four, a high-character, low-maintenance player destined for the Hall of Fame," Hayes wrote.
"If the Sixers can trade Ben Simmons for Anthony Davis before the February 7 deadline, then they should. Slam dunk. Mic drop. It might rock The Process. So what. Processes change."
But the possibility was discounted in a report by Yahoo! Sports' Chris Haynes. "Philadelphia, which could put together a fairly competitive offer for Davis, currently has no plans to pursue a deal, sources said," Haynes wrote. "Rich Paul of Klutch Sports represents Davis and Ben Simmons, and a deal centred on swapping his clients is highly unlikely."
For a city still reeling from being denied a Super Bowl by one of the worst missed calls in NFL history, this was a brutal blow. But it wasn't entirely unexpected.
The Pelicans will aim to land the best package of players and draft picks for their wantaway star - who left coach Alvin Gentry and teammate Jrue Holiday to front reporters.
"We were informed by his people that obviously he's not going to sign the extension and would like to be traded," Gentry said. "Out of respect for A.D. and our franchise, I think there's gonna be a statement issued later on - you guys can wait for that.
"But as far as my role and what's going on - he's still under contract, he's still on our team. I spoke to him this morning. He thinks his finger's getting better. He's planning on playing out the season … I think A.D. is a professional guy. He's gonna play as hard as he can once he gets well."
Holiday, who signed a five-year contract with the franchise in July, 2017, revealed Davis informed his teammates of his decision two days ago.
But it was still a bitter result given Davis was "like 90 per cent" of the reason he re-signed with the Hornets, Holiday said.
Boston may have the best pile of assets to offer the Hornets but any trade with the Celtics will have to wait until July because of "Rose Rule" restrictions.
Kyrie Irving's presence on the Celtics roster prevents them from pulling the trigger on a trade now - unless they move on the star point guard.
Irving may also cost Boston later too. Yahoo! Sports' Chris Haynes reported: "Regarding team preferences, Boston is not a top target for Davis, sources said. There's a growing belief of uncertainty that Kyrie Irving will not re-sign with Boston, sources said, even though he vowed to do so at the beginning of the season."
If that's the case, expect some hard questions to be asked of Irving by the Celtics sooner rather than later.
The Knicks struck out on landing Irving and Kawhi Leonard and sat out the recent Jimmy Butler sweepstakes. They won't sit out this Anthony Davis derby, according to a New York Post source.
The Post said the Knicks are deciding whether to offer injured young star Kristaps Porzingis to the Pelicans, or hope a package including their 2019 first-round draft pick - which could end up being college star Zion Williamson - is enough.
Davis is from Chicago and would be a dream recruit for the battling Bulls, but they're not considered a frontrunner.
Miami is also tipped to make advances, but doesn't present as a team "that allows (Davis) a chance to win consistently and compete for a championship" - a condition revealed by his agent on any potential landing spot. The Heat also don't have the assets to compete with the Celtics or the team most expect Davis to land at, which is ...
Lakers brass met immediately to formulate their plan of attack after Davis' announcement.
After all the noise created by Paul George's decision to re-sign in OKC and Kawhi Leonard's reported preference for the Clippers, LeBron James might land the most desirable teammate he could have hoped for as he attempts another push at a championship.
There might be some players, as Durant famously declared, who are put off by the circus surrounding the NBA's number one star, but if Davis signs it doesn't matter.
In the Lakers favour is agent Rich Paul, who manages both James and Davis.
They also have a reasonably attractive group of young players who may be enough to tempt New Orleans into an immediate move.
"For the Lakers, it's time to strike now. It's becoming more and more apparent that acquiring a top-tier free agent in the summer might be too complicated," Haynes wrote.
"There's pressure to surround LeBron James with elite talent sooner rather than later. James and Davis share the same agent, making the Lakers the most convenient and logical option."
The possibility of joining LA's legendary list of big men - George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O'Neal - may also tempt Davis, who could headline the franchise long after 34-year-old James retires.