Anthony Davis’ trade request means the next week-plus before the trade deadline will be filled with rumors and rumblings about teams trying to pry the superstar out of New Orleans.
Davis has another full season left on his deal before he can become a free agent, which means the Pelicans don’t have to move him by the Feb. 7 deadline if the right deal doesn’t emerge — or if they think they can get better value this summer. The Lakers and some others will try to make a deal happen over the next 10 days but there are other teams, like the Celtics and Knicks, hoping the Pelicans wait until this summer.
For New York, the reasoning is fairly simple. Their best asset right now, assuming they don’t want to trade Kristaps Porzingis, is their 2019 first round draft pick, but no one will know until the lottery exactly how good that pick is. If they have the No. 1 overall pick, and thus the rights to Zion Williamson, then that becomes a trade chip that may be able to trump just about anything else the Pelicans could get.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski went on Golic & Wingo this morning on ESPN Radio and laid out why Porzingis likely wasn’t going to be the chief trade piece in a Knicks package, but that New York would be “aggressive” and potentially willing to part with that pick after the lottery.
The Porzingis note is a bit confusing, being that he would be a restricted free agent for the Pelicans if dealt there and, as such, they would have the rights to match any offer sheet he got. That is, unless he signed the qualifying offer which seems awfully risky for someone coming off a major knee injury. Beyond that, everything else Woj says makes sense in that the Knicks and Pelicans, if there were mutual interest, would want to wait until after the draft lottery because New Orleans will want a guaranteed asset, not some ping pong balls, and the Knicks, if they don’t want to move Kristaps, will need to use the pick.