When Anthony Davis signed on with Rich Paul and Klutch Sports last year, it immediately set off signals he eventually would wind up playing alongside LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers. Never mind the fact that Davis couldn’t become a free agent until after the 2019-20 season.
So when Davis informed the Pelicans he would not sign a five-year supermax contract extension this summer and requested to be traded, the Lakers again were linked to plenty of speculation. What’s more, his representatives have begun to relay Davis only intends to play for the Lakers long-term.
Although L.A. is motivated to acquire Davis before the Feb. 7 trade deadline, they appear to be encountering plenty of resistance from the Pelicans.
According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Adrian Wojnarowski, Pelicans general manager Dell Demps is holding Davis trade talks with teams, but not Rob Pelinka and the Lakers:
As the NBA trade deadline looms within a week, the Lakers’ immediate pursuit of All-Star forward Anthony Davis is fraught with obstacles — including the fact that New Orleans Pelicans general manager Dell Demps has yet to return a call to Lakers GM Rob Pelinka, league sources told ESPN.
Demps is picking up his phone and returning calls — just not from the Lakers, sources said.
While Demps hasn’t touched base with Pelinka, there is an expectation he will do so:
Demps hasn’t yet returned Pelinka’s call, but likely will several days prior to Thursday’s trade deadline.
There have been multiple signs of New Orleans being frustrated or upset with the Lakers over recent months. In their statement responding to Davis’ public trade demand, the Pelicans implored the NBA to strictly enforce its tampering rule — in what was a veiled shot at the Lakers.
James openly admitting he would love to have Davis as a teammate added fuel to the fire and reportedly angered general managers of small-market teams who believed the 16-year veteran was guilty of tampering.
Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry was particularly vocal in responses to James’ comments, though also expressed an understanding that he was answering a question.
While the Lakers may remain determined in their pursuit of a trade before the deadline, indications are the Pelicans will carry this into the offseason, when the Boston Celtics can become involved. Even if it means the currently-injured Davis has played his final game for the franchise.
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