The Los Angeles Lakers offseason will largely be defined by their pursuit of a second All-Star player alongside LeBron James like Anthony Davis.
However, since former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin took over the position of executive vice president of basketball operations, the New Orleans Pelicans seem to believe they can convince Davis to stay in New Orleans until his contract expires.
Davis requested a trade from the Pelicans near the 2018-19 NBA trade deadline and has reiterated that request many times since. However, the team has decided to hold off on trade talks until the summer, a move that ended up damaging the credibility of the Lakers organization.
Since then, the Pelicans have hired Griffin and landed the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, who is all but guaranteed to be Zion Williamson. These two things alone make Griffin and the Pelicans believe they have the tools to keep Davis around, according to Mike Triplett of ESPN:
“We’ll probably sit together in Los Angeles at some point around the draft workouts that take place there,” Griffin said Tuesday during a conference call to introduce Langdon. “And I think that’s the next step — really to look each other in the eye and talk about what’s important to us. And we’re very optimistic from previous conversations with Rich Paul, his agent, and with all of the people here that know Anthony and know what he’s about. We’re very confident that we have a compelling situation for him here.”
Griffin also believes that if Davis does care about winning, then a new-look Pelicans team with Williamson is a great place for that:
“And if winning is what he is indeed all about, which we have every reason to believe, we feel confident that we can create — and are creating — the right environment for Anthony and frankly for high-caliber players of all types to want to be a part of. This is something that we hope creates an energy that recruits itself, and Anthony would just be one step in that process.”
There are basically two options here with Griffin legitimately believing he can convince Davis to stay, which would include proving to the 26-year-old that he can create a competitive roster.
The other option is that Griffin knows he’s lost any chance at retaining Davis and is simply saying all of this to try and regain some semblance of leverage in trade talks.
Whatever it may be, the Davis trade saga should make for an extremely compelling storyline for the next couple months.