Although the New Orleans Pelicans were coming off a season in which they reached the second round of the NBA Playoffs, speculation was beginning to bubble over how much longer Anthony Davis would remain with the franchise.
He signed a five-year contract extension in July 2015, and is eligible for a five-year, $240 million deal this year. However, through his agent Rich Paul, Davis has already informed the Pelicans he will not sign another extension and is looking to be traded.
While that was welcomed news to the Los Angeles Lakers, among others, time is of the essence as the NBA trade deadline looms on Feb. 7.
Even with Davis looking to force his way out of New Orleans, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski explained during an appearance on “NBA Countdown” that the Pelicans are keeping the long-term picture in mind:
“Methodically. They’re going to take their time. Teams are calling New Orleans, they’re checking in to see what the Pelicans might want from a particular team’s roster and try to get a sense of their timeline. The message that’s been given out to teams is, ‘Hey, if you want to make an offer, go ahead. We’ll put it up on our board.’ But New Orleans is really focused on the long play here with these trade talks with Anthony Davis. Trade deadline is obviously next Thursday; it is very unlikely that they’re going to be engaged seriously enough with anybody to do a trade by then.”
Months before Davis made his trade demand, Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry emphatically refuted the notion the team would deal the five-time All-Star. Gentry’s remarks came on the heels of LeBron James openly admitting he would love to have Davis as a teammate.
That was also around the time the Pelicans remained in the playoff picture and were looking to improve their roster around Davis because of the looming possibility that’s now become a reality.
If the Pelicans drag Davis trade talks beyond the deadline, it presumably will hinder the Lakers’ chances of completing a trade. Come July 1, the Boston Celtics would be eligible to trade for Davis without needing to surrender Kyrie Irving.
Boston’s treasure chest of draft picks is perceived by many to be the basis of an offer that would be superior to what the Lakers can pull together. Nevertheless, the Pelicans reportedly are bullish on Lonzo Ball.
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