The single biggest story in the NBA during the lead-up to Thursday’s trade deadline was the future of Anthony Davis. The New Orleans Pelicans’ superstar requested a trade, leading to weeks of rumblings about what would happen. Whether it was a trade a team on his list of places he wants to play, a move to a squad willing to take a chance on convincing him to stick around, or the Pelicans holding firm, all eyes were on what would happen with the All-NBA big man.
Ultimately, New Orleans decided to stick to its guns and hold onto Davis. The trade deadline came and went at 3 p.m. on Thursday, and despite the best efforts of teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks (both of which were ostensibly on the list of teams Davis would like to play for moving forward), the big man will stay in The Big Easy for the remainder of the 2018-19 campaign.
Much of the chatter surrounding Davis in the last week had to do with the Lakers, which were motivated to get a deal done to pair him with LeBron James. However, in the last day or so, reports indicated that the Pelicans weren’t necessarily negotiating with Los Angeles in good faith, and according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, there was a whole lot going on that involved teams other than the two involved in talks.
Ultimately, in recent days, it became clear that the Lakers were pessimistic about their chances of getting a deal done. In turn, that led to the widespread belief being that Davis would play out, at the very least, the remainder of this season in New Orleans. Despite reports that the Pelicans would consider holding him out for the remainder of the season, and despite the fact that Davis had indeed been kept from returning to the floor in the days leading up to the deadline, it appears as though the team has decided this is the best course of action.
Now the question that pops up is what will happen at the end of the season, when New Orleans puts a bow on the 2018-19 campaign and has to face the fact that Davis wants to go somewhere else to satiate his desire to compete for championships. It stands to reason that Los Angeles will be there, waiting for the opportunity to get back to the negotiating table. The Knicks, too, could be ripe for a move, especially if they win the NBA Draft Lottery and give the Pelicans the opportunity to select Duke phenom Zion Williamson.
That aforementioned list — which reportedly also included the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers — isn’t necessarily a thing the Pelicans need to follow. This is where a team like the Boston Celtics could come into play, boasting a collection of young talent, established veterans, and draft capital that no other team can match. Davis reportedly not having any sort of desire to go to Beantown complicates matters exponentially, but should Danny Ainge and co. swing for the fences regardless, who knows what can happen?
All of this makes the upcoming summer, one that was already viewed as one that could shape the course of the league due to the number of superstars eligible to become free agents, exponentially more fascinating. Davis legitimately might be the next guy in line to earn the title of best player in the world, and thanks to the Pelicans’ decision to keep him in New Orleans for the time being, the mad dash to acquire his services has come to an end … for now.
In the meantime, he plans to play “every game” from here on out.
We’ll see if the Pelicans make that happen.