After Anthony Davis requested a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans through agent Rich Paul, all eyes are on the Los Angeles Lakers leading up to the Feb. 7 trade deadline.
While Davis and Paul have reportedly not given the Pelicans a list of potential trade destinations, they are expected to eventually inform teams of his preference to join the Lakers.
For a small-market team like the Pelicans, it is extremely difficult to replace a five-time All-Star who is just entering the prime years of his career. As a result, general manager Dell Demps reportedly reached out to San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich for advice.
According to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, Popovich advised Demps to not to give in and trade Davis to the Lakers:
“I’ve been told that one of the people that Dell Demps has communicated with is Gregg Popovich. Not for trade talks or anything, but a guy like Gregg Popovich has said, ‘Don’t cave to the Los Angeles Lakers.’ In other words, ‘Like we didn’t for Kawhi Leonard.'”
If these details are factual, it is not surprising considering Popovich and the Spurs reportedly did not want to trade Kawhi Leonard to the Lakers this past offseason. While Leonard wanted to play in his hometown, he was ultimately traded to the Toronto Raptors in a four-player deal.
As the deadline approaches, the Pelicans reportedly will only trade Davis for an ‘overwhelming’ package. With the Lakers having a young core and draft picks, it will be interesting to see if Demps takes Popovich’s advice.
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