The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics continue to discuss Anthony Davis trade scenarios with the New Orleans Pelicans, according to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Celtics and Lakers are engaged in trade talks with New Orleans on All-NBA star Anthony Davis, league sources tell me, @ZachLowe_NBA, @ramonashelburne and @WindhorstESPN. Lakers No. 4 pick has been discussed as trade chip to help Pels acquire high-level player in multi-team deals.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 12, 2019
The Lakers have included Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft in trade talks with the Pelicans, according to Wojnarowski and Marc Stein of The New York Times. But the Lakers reportedly have been reluctant to include Kyle Kuzma in the trade talks. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Pelicans covet Kuzma more than any of the Lakers' other young players.
My sense is that the Lakers, to this point, have tried to keep Kyle Kuzma out of the talks and the full package New Orleans would receive in an Anthony Davis deal obviously depends on what the third team provides— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 12, 2019
According to Stein, the value of this package is directly tied to who the Pelicans could select with the No. 4 pick. If a player they like is available, Stein reports that the Lakers and Pelicans are "headed for an agreement in principle before Draft night next Thursday." Wojnarowski also reports that the Pelicans seem "intent" on trading Davis prior to the NBA Draft on June 20.
The Lakers' ability to seal a deal for Anthony Davis likely hinges on what the No. 4 pick can fetch. If the No. 4 pick can land a player to excite New Orleans, on top of Ingram and Ball, then the teams are headed for an agreement in principle before draft night next Thursday— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 12, 2019
The Celtics remain unable to trade for Davis until after July 1 because of the Designated Rookie Extension Rule. Boston can't add Davis until Kyrie Irving becomes a free agent at 6 p.m. ET on June 30. The Lakers also are unable to officially complete a deal until their cap space opens up when the free agent moratorium ends on July 6.
The same holds true for the Lakers based on the obstacles of matching salaries right now. Can agree but any AD deal likely gets finalized until July 6. https://t.co/GtfnvHaLHW— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) June 12, 2019
Irving parted ways with his agent, Jeff Wechsler, late Wednesday and has plans to be represented by Roc Nation Sports, Wojnarowski reports. In addition, the Celtics star guard is "intensely interested" in the Brooklyn Nets (as well as the New York Knicks) this summer.
By changing agents, Irving would be partnering with Jay-Z's Roc Nation as he braces for free agency on June 30. With Jay-Z being a former part-owner of the Nets and one of the city's biggest icons, the move fuels speculation that Irving might make the Nets a free-agency destination.
Here's more from Wojnarowski on the reported negotiations between the Lakers and Pelicans regarding Davis:
New Orleans and Los Angeles have canvassed the league with the Lakers' No. 4 overall pick to find a third-team who would use that selection in exchange for sending a high-level player to the Pelicans as part of a deal, league sources said.
The Brooklyn Nets and LA Clippers are two teams with interest in Davis who've been able to gather traction in conversations with New Orleans, league sources said.
The Lakers appear to be trying to exercise some level of restraint in trade talks, especially given that they hold the leverage as Davis' preferred destination. Davis' agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports has indicated publicly and privately to the Celtics that Davis would leave Boston in free agency in 2020, essentially becoming a one-year rental for the Celtics.
Nevertheless, Boston is still determined to trade for Davis and hope that he can be an allure to keep All-Star guard Kyrie Irving from leaving in free agency.
Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports the Celtics are "intent" on trying to get Davis no matter what else transpires with Irving and the rest of the roster this summer.
These reports come on the same day that Davis' agent Rich Paul was featured in a cover story for Sports Illustrated, which became newsworthy when he was quoted saying Davis would not sign an extension with the Celtics, or any team, before free agency in 2020.
“Where he’s going to land? I have no idea,” Paul told Sports Illustrated's S.L. Price. “And it don’t matter. We’re going into free agency. Why does it matter to me where he goes? Earth: We’re going into free agency. He has a year, he has to play. But after that, I can’t say it no bigger: WE ARE GOING INTO FREE AGENCY. 2020: ANTHONY DAVIS WILL BE IN FREE AGENCY.”
Paul informed the Pelicans in January that Davis wanted out and had no intention of signing a long-term contract extension with the team. The Pelicans have been aware of what Davis wants, and while many trade rumors regarding him bubbled up leading into the NBA's trade deadline, he was ultimately not dealt.
Paul made it clear in the Sports Illustrated story that even if Boston does acquire Davis, they must be prepared to face the summer of 2020, too.
“They can trade for him, but it’ll be for one year,” Paul says. “I mean: If the Celtics traded for Anthony Davis, we would go there and we would abide by our contractual [obligations] and we would go into free agency in 2020. I’ve stated that to them. But in the event that he decides to walk away and you give away assets? Don’t blame Rich Paul.”
David Griffin, the Pelicans' new executive vice president of basketball operations, met with Davis in Los Angeles at the end of May. While the talks were reportedly "respectful" and "productive," it was still considered "highly unlikely" that Davis would waver from his stance in seeking a trade.
Since then, Griffin has reportedly become open to multi-team trades for Davis as he has provided potential suitors with the framework of a trade package he'd want for the All-Star. Per Wojnarowski, the Knicks, Nets, Lakers and Clippers are among the front offices acquiring about Davis as well as some other, non-preferred teams feeling emboldened to enter the pursuit of Davis.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.