The Los Angeles Lakers remain one of the top suitors for Anthony Davis, having reportedly made a new offer for him yesterday with a trade that would have included multiple young players, future first-round picks and more. However, the Lakers have failed to get the Pelicans to budge much in dealing Davis.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported last night (via Twitter) that the Pelicans were seeking an offer that would overwhelm them with future Draft picks. The long and short of it all, it seems, is the clock is ticking and the Pelicans do not seem to be in a big hurry to deal Davis before the Feb. 7 trade deadline.
Overall, the Lakers are getting increasingly pessimistic about the Pelicans' willingness to trade with the Lakers, per ESPN's Ramona Shelburne. For the Pelicans, the "overwhelming" card in the deal would look like this: four first-round and second-round picks as part of the trade package as New Orleans wants to be compensated for trading Davis to the Lakers now (instead of in the summer).
Set against the 3 p.m. ET Thursday trade deadline, this process has transformed into a high-stakes game of leverages, postures and bluffs among several organizations and Davis' agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports. So far, the Lakers have felt that conversations with New Orleans have been one-sided, and they are growing increasingly pessimistic about the Pelicans' willingness to make a deal with them, sources with knowledge of the discussions told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne.
The Lakers are currently offering the Pelicans a package that includes forwards Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma, guard Lonzo Ball and two first-round picks, as well as a willingness to absorb the remaining $12.7 million on Solomon Hill's contract in the 2019-20 season, league sources told ESPN.
Lakers president Magic Johnson and Pelicans GM Dell Demps had multiple conversations Monday about trade packages, none of which obviously netted Davis. On Monday, per multiple reports, an extended list of teams Davis would be willing to re-sign with emerged. That list consists of the Lakers, New York Knicks, Milwaukee Bucks and LA Clippers.
The Bucks and Clippers, per multiple reports, have yet to make an offer for Davis while the Knicks have not re-engaged the Pelicans in discussions. New York did try to land Davis with a deal centered on Kristaps Porzingis, but that was rejected by New Orleans, Wojnarowski reports. The Knicks dealt Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks last Thursday.
The Boston Celtics, per ESPN, are determined to land Davis after the season and GM Danny Ainge has directly urged Demps to wait until the offseason. The Celtics have a treasure trove of assets -- young players, future Draft picks and more -- that could entice New Orleans to make a deal and Ainge is eager to land Davis to pair him with All-Star guard Kyrie Irving, ESPN reports.
Last week, Irving backtracked on his plans to re-sign with Boston this summer. Wojnarowski reports the Celtics remain focused on landing Davis regardless of what Irving chooses, but feel that adding Davis this summer would help keep Irving in the fold.
The Lakers have some factors working against them, per Wojnarowski, as the Celtics wait in the wings. Of particular concern for L.A.'s bid for Davis is whether or not Boston might include young talent Jayson Tatum in an offseason deal that would include first-round picks. When Davis' list of teams came out yesterday, the Celtics were not among them and Davis' father has been vocal about not wanting his son to play in Boston.
After the Pelicans' 109-107 home loss to the Indiana Pacers, coach Alvin Gentry said Davis has been "cleared to practice" as he recovers from a sprained left index finger that has sidelined him since the end of a loss at Portland on Jan. 18.
Yahoo Sports' Chris Hayes reported Tuesday that the Pelicans prevented Davis from making his healthy return to the lineup last night.
Davis, 25, eagerly wanted to suit up at home against the Indiana Pacers after recovering from a left finger avulsion that sidelined him for a little more than two weeks, sources said, but the organization elected to keep him inactive. There’s the impression that his absence could potentially extend until the conclusion of Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline, sources said.
It was the first contest Davis was healthy enough to rejoin the team since sustaining the injury on Jan. 18, sources said.
Gentry said he hopes by Wednesday that New Orleans' more prominent regulars will return to the lineup. For the fourth straight game, the Pelicans played without not only Davis, but also forwards Julius Randle (right ankle sprain) and Nikola Mirotic (right calf strain), as well as guards Elfrid Payton (right ankle sprain) and E'Twaun Moore (bruised left quadriceps).
The Pelicans are 23-31 and 13th in the Western Conference. Davis has said all along that he planned to play again for New Orleans once his finger injury healed up. New Orleans visits the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday (8 ET, NBA League Pass) in its last game before the trade deadline.
If Davis winds up not being dealt by the deadline, he would be allowed to join his teammates on the court. However, Haynes reports there is a strong possibility Davis could be "shut down to an extent" for the rest of 2018-19 after the All-Star break.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.