Report: Pelicans hope to finalize Anthony Davis trade before 2019 NBA Draft

Anthony Davis
Apr 9, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (in street clothes) looks on from the bench in the final seconds of the fourth quarter against the Golden State Warriors at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

While New Orleans Pelicans vice president David Griffin has tried to convince superstar big man Anthony Davis to stay with the franchise that drafted him, it has become clear that Davis has no intention of changing his mind. Davis requested a trade from the Pelicans last February with the Los Angeles Lakers his preferred destination but the two sides could not come to an agreement.

Now with Griffin leading the way for the Pelicans after the firing of Dell Demps, the Pelicans seem to be shifting their focus toward finding an amicable trade and according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, they want to get a trade done quickly:

Griffin has offered teams no firm timetable on needing a completed deal, but he has indicated that he prefers the acquisition of 2019 draft picks be completed days prior to the June 20 event, in Brooklyn, league sources said. This gives the Pelicans a chance to meet and more closely examine draft candidates slotted in the vicinity of picks potentially traded to New Orleans.

This makes for an interesting dynamic with the Lakers, one of four teams (including the Clippers, Knicks and Nets) who have been involved in discussions for Davis.

The Lakers are hoping to sign a star in free agency, using the max contract cap space to do so. They could then trade young players to match contracts and trade for Davis. With the draft coming before free agency, the Lakers will likely have to make a decision on a trade before any guarantee that they can sign someone. The trade itself does not have to go through immediately even if it agreed to, in order to make the cap math work. If the Lakers draft someone with the fourth overall pick, they will have to wait 30 days before they can officially trade him.

Those picks will be the centerpieces of any trade for Davis given Griffin’s wants, per Woj:

Griffin is pursuing a combination of assets that include an All-Star player, a young player with All-Star potential and two first-round picks, league sources said. Those wants are on a sliding scale. For example, the better the player, the softer the asks on the draft picks — and vice versa.

To that end, Woj reports that Griffin has been aggressive in proposing three-team trade scenarios that would allow the Pelicans to get the assets they most desire in the event that one Davis suitor cannot provide all of them.

There has not been much noise around the Anthony Davis rumor mill since the end of the regular season, unlike the events that unfolded at the trade deadline. But it seems as though the Pelicans want a resolution sooner rather than later so talks could be heating up in the next ten days.

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