The New Orleans Pelicans became the latest small-market team to face pressure from a superstar looking to move on as Anthony Davis informed the team he will not sign a five-year supermax contract extension this summer and would instead like to be traded.
Davis’ demand, which was presented to the team by agent Rich Paul, led to an NBA investigation that resulted in the five-time All-Star receiving a $50,000 fine. Davis and his representatives are next expected to inform teams of a preference to join the Los Angeles Lakers.
He remains under contract through the 2019-2020 season, which puts the Pelicans in position to potentially hold off on a trade until the summer. That’s when the Boston Celtics could become involved and either acquire Davis or at minimum drive up the asking price.
With the Lakers and New York Knicks among the teams expected to make a push for Davis prior to the Feb. 7 trade deadline, Pelicans general manager Dell Demps has been difficult to get in contact with, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:
New Orleans general manager Dell Demps is “not picking up his phone,” a source familiar with the situation told ESPN on Tuesday.
One conversation Demps reportedly had was with San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, who is said to have suggested the Pelicans GM resist giving into Davis’ preference of being traded to the Lakers.
If the Lakers are to engage the Pelicans in Davis trade talks, it’s believed their offer would have to begin with Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac and a first-round draft pick. Although Ball’s camp would like to see him sent to a third team in a potential trade, the Pelicans are high on the young point guard.
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