As the New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers fight for leverage in trade negotiations centered around Anthony Davis, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to note which reports are the real deal. On one hand, you have Davis’ father telling the media that he would not want his son to play for Boston. On the other, you have the two biggest news-breakers in the game reporting the Lakers have lowballed the Pelicans, in what seems to be a leverage ploy to get other teams to offer up trade packages for the star big man.
One straight-shot report, however, comes from Shams Charania of The Athletic, who says that only two players have been off limits in the Lakers’ packages for Davis: LeBron James and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Sources with The Athletic's Pelicans reporter @WillGuillory: One player the Lakers have not placed in discussions with Pelicans for Anthony Davis (besides LeBron James): Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 2, 2019
There could be a couple of factors at play here.
First, Caldwell-Pope has a no-trade clause as a provision of his signing a one-year deal and surrendering his Bird rights. It’s a CBA-issued NTC, not one negotiated by him and his agent, but it works the same: KCP has the right to veto any trade involving him this season.
That seems improbable, however, given that KCP is represented by Rich Paul, the agent who also works for James and Davis. Paul’s fingerprints have been all over Davis’ trade request so it seems hard to believe that he would orchestrate this whole thing without knowing whether or not the shooting guard would be willing to make it work.
More likely is that Paul does not want his client in New Orleans after what will be a messy divorce involving Davis. It’s the same reason that the 76ers are reportedly unwilling to get involved in trade talks, with Ben Simmons a non-starter as another Paul client. The Lakers can’t go against Klutch’s wishes because of KCP’s NTC.
While interesting, KCP’s involvement in the deal shouldn’t be much of a point of contention. His $12M salary is good salary ballast to make trades work but the Lakers have Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson who can provide similar benefits. The Pelicans are not holding out of a trade because Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who is shooting 34.7 percent from three and averaging 10.3 points per game, has been absent.
Short of the two Klutch clients on the roster, it appears as though everyone is available from the Lakers viewpoint. However, it’s unclear how large of a package they are willing to give up for Davis, with the added difficulty that involving more players may require the help of a third team due to roster size limits.