* Read until the end of the blog to see who the Sleeper Team is to get AD!
So all the talk this week has been about Anthony Davis's bombshell trade request and whether he will leave New Orleans before the trade deadline on February 7th.
Although he publicly stated that he wants to go to a team where he can win consistently, this statement is not entirely true. It is clear that what he really wants is to be a superstar in a big market, most likely Los Angeles and maybe also New York.
It is no secret that the Lakers have emerged as the clear favorites to trade for AD and sign him to a lucrative max contract. The Lakers have a lot of assets to make a strong offer and the only team that could (and would be willing) to definitely trump that offer is the Boston Celtics. But due to the 'Rose Rule' The Celtics cannot trade for 2 players on a 'Rose' contract and since they already traded for Kyrie Irving last year, they have to wait until this summer to make an offer.
The Lakers have reportedly only offered 2 of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Ivica Zubac, and Josh Hart in any one package combination. That clearly won't get the job done but there is still time for Magic to improve the offer.
But the big question is:
Do the Pelicans want to do business with the Lakers?
New Orleans really does not want to cave into the Lakers demands ala Spurs when they refused to trade Kawhi to the Lakers for young assets and preferred to ship him out to the East Coast for DeMar DeRozan. You can't blame the Pelicans for not wanting to bow down to the Lakers and give them exactly what they want but are they willing to sacrifice a better deal just to teach the Lakers a lesson?
One thing is for sure, Magic Johnson desperately wants to get the deal done this week and not wait to the summer to get in a bidding war with the Celtics and anyone else who may get the top pick and the rights to draft and potentially offer Zion Williamson.
Not only that but the way the trade has played out in public cannot be good for the young Laker players knowing that Magic has been desperately trying to trade all of them. And let's not forget the Lakers could actually make a run this year with Anthony Davis and any extra playoff run counts for a lot considering Lebron James is already 34 years old. So saying that Magic feels the pressure to do the deal now is a massive understatement.
But who can challenge Magic and the Lakers to offer a competitive package?
Let's take a look at the other 28 teams and see if anyone else has a chance of challenging the Lakers and re-signing The Brow to a Max contract. Or maybe there is a team with guts to pull a Kawhi and part ways with assets for what would most likely be a 1 or 1 and a half year rental. Either way to make New Orleans accept the trade before the deadline, teams are going to have to make huge home run offers.
* Most trades should work under league rules but some trade offers below may need to include a salary filler from New Orleans such as Solomon Hill to match up the salaries.
Took themselves out of the running before the deadline
New York Knicks
Firstly let's start with the Knicks as a blockbuster trade was just announced this week with Franchise Player Kristaps Porzingis shockingly being traded to the Dallas Mavs for cap relief and a bag of chips. The Knicks had figured to be the Lakers strongest challengers before the trade deadline but it was reported that the Pelicans were not high on Porzingis especially since KP also did not show any interest to remain in New Orleans long term. Of course the Knicks could theoretically win the number 1 pick and trade Zion Williamson for Anthony Davis this summer. Would it be possible to pair together two max slots like Kyrie and KD AND add Anthony Davis? Knicks fans can dare to dream.
With Dallas giving all their assets away in the Porzingis trade, they would have to offer Super Rookie Luka Doncic to even have a chance and there is no way in hell they will do that.
Teams with not enough quality assets
The Hornets have absolutely nothing to offer the Pelicans and they will probably make the playoffs so they won't even have a lottery pick.
Offer: Myles Turner, Thaddeus Young, Bojan Bogdanovic, 1st Round Picks
The Pacers are in a similar situation with not enough marquee players to offer and they will have an even lower pick to offer than the Hornets.
Offer: Nikola Vucevic / Mo Bamba, Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac, 1st Round Picks
Offer: Justice Winslow, Josh Richardson, Bam Adebayo, 1st Round Picks
The Magic and the Heat have some decent young players but not anyone who is likely to become an All Star so it won't be enough to get AD.
Offer: Blake Griffin, Reggie Bullock, Luke Kennard, 1st Round Picks
The Pistons actually have an All Star under a long contract to offer the Pelicans in Blake Griffin but not much else to go with that. But Blake is almost 30 years old with a massive contract and injury prone so unlikely New Orleans will bite on that offer.
Bad Teams that may get the Number 1 Pick but no way AD Stays
Offer: DeAndre Ayton, T.J Warren, Josh Jackson, This Year's 1st Round Pick
Offer: Trae Young, John Collins, Kent Bazemore, This Year's 1st Round Pick
Offer: Kevin Love, Collin Sexton, This Year's 1st Round Pick
Offer: Mike Conley or Marc Gasol, Jaren Jackson Jr., This Year's 1st Round Pick
Offer: Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., Robin Lopez, This Year's 1st Round Pick
None of these teams, even Anthony Davis's hometown Bulls have a chance of re-signing him and they probably would not want to give up their young stars: Ayton for Phoenix, Markkanen for Chicago, Jaren Jackson for Memphis and Trae Young and John Collins for Atlanta PLUS what could be Zion Williamson or RJ Barrett just for a year rental of AD.
Teams very unlikely to make serious offers
These teams may not have top 5 picks to offer but they are good teams and they have some good players to offer.
Golden State Warriors
Offer: Klay Thompson and Draymond Green
The Dubs would have to offer Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in the next week and there is no chance that they would take such a gamble unless Klay says he's leaving in the summer and Draymond and KD get into a fistfight in the next few days.
Offer: Gary Harris, Jamal Murray and Mason Plumlee
Likewise with Denver, they could offer their starting backcourt but could Anthony Davis work with Nikola Jokic? With a lack of perimeter players and the fact the Nuggets are flying high in 2nd place means there is no way they will mortgage their future backcourt for a one year rental.
Offer: Karl Anthony Towns
Offer: Rudy Gobert
Minnesota with Towns and Utah with Gobert. These offers could probably get New Orleans attention but with no chance of AD staying in these cities long term, there is no chance they will trade their franchise Centers when they are both happy to be where they are
Offer: Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz and Wilson Chandler
For Philly they could be the front runner for the trade if they offer Ben Simmons....but they won't. No chance they will give up on their young star especially after already making a huge trade for Jimmy Butler. And who's to say in today's perimeter orientated game that Embiid and A.Davis can share the paint.
Offer: De'Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley and Bojan Bogdanovic
Again with no chance that AD will stay long term, there is almost no chance the Kings would give up their young stud De'Aaron Fox or their number 2 pick in last year's draft.
San Antonio Spurs
Offer: DeMar DeRozan, Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, 1st Round Pick
Finally the Spurs could offer DeMar DeRozan and some young players but knowing Pop he would not break up his team like this mid season, especially after just trading for DeMar. And the Pelicans most likely won't have interest anyway.
Long Shots: Teams Will Try But Good Luck
Offer: Bradley Beal, Tomas Satoransky, Thomas Bryant, 1st Round Pick
The Wizards could create a package highlighted by All Star Bradley Beal which would link up fellow Kentucky Wildcat John Wall with AD. But that team would be no better then the current Pelicans team with Jrue Holiday and with Wall injured you may not even get one season together before AD bolts.
Portland Trail Blazers
Offer: C.J McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins, 1st Round Pick
The Blazers could offer a package centered around C.J McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic and they may be willing to try and make a superstar duo in Lillard and A.Davis. They would get 2 playoff runs out of it or they could still flip Davis before next season's deadline if he is really unhappy there. It may be worth the risk because the Dame and CJ lead Blazers teams have proven to struggle in the playoffs. But will New Orleans be interested in this deal? Probably not, so still a long shot.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Offer: Steven Adams, Jeremi Grant, Terrence Ferguson, 1st Round Pick
Adams is a great player but is still more of a complimentary player, rather than a potential star to build around. It's nice to dream of a trio of Westbrook, PG and AD but if I was an OKC Fan I would not hold my breath for this deal.
Championship Contenders just for a 1.5 year rental
Offer: Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Jonas Valanciunas (or Serge Ibaka), 1st Round Picks
Offer: Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe and Thon Maker
The Raptors and the Bucks both have an MVP contender to pair with Davis if they want to go all in and go for the championship in the next two years. Two legitimate chances to win a championship even though Davis almost certainly won't resign may still be worth to roll the dice.
I suspect the Raptors will be more aggressive as the Bucks are playing so well together with the best record in the league so they may not want to make major changes. Masai Ujiri has proven to take risks before but if Kawhi does leave this summer then you can be sure Davis will not be happy to play there next year, let alone sign long term.
The Main Contender IF it goes on until Summer
Offer: Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, 1st Round Pick
There have been worrying reports this week regarding the Celtics which have hurt their chances and increased the chances that New Orleans will trade AD before the deadline and not wait until the summer for Boston's offer.
First there was Davis's admission that Boston was not a team he was considering to re-sign with and the main reason is because he believes Kyrie will leave.
Then the whole Porzingis trade happened and Kyrie to the Knicks became a real possibility. Kyrie himself did not help the situation by telling the media to ask him on July 1st and that he was just excited when he made the comments at the beginning of the season to stay in Boston. He clearly said he will do what's best for himself and if he is not committed to Boston then you have no chance for AD to stay either.
Finally Anthony Davis's father made recent comments that he would not want his son playing for the Celtics since he believes they have no loyalty after their poor treatment of Isaiah Thomas.
Meanwhile we don't know how Boston will fare in the playoffs. What if Jayson Tatum plays like a superstar again and Ainge does not want to move him anymore? Or what if he plays bad and his trade value declines? There's just too many questions and with Kyrie's uncertainty and the Davis camp's negative impression of the Celtics, their chances are dropping. Since they cannot even bid for him until this summer when everyone else can bid now, it is hard to give them better than a 10% chance to get AD. But if anyone can pull it off, it's Danny Ainge.
Offer: Clint Capela, Eric Gordon, 1st Round Picks
Do not count out Daryl Morey and the Houston Rockets trying for a home run deal to pair Anthony Davis with perennial All Stars James Harden and Chris Paul. This trio could challenge the Warriors for best trio in the league and even if AD doesn't re-sign next summer, the Rockets will get 2 shots in the playoffs to dethrone the Warriors.
Imagine if the Rockets had AD last year when they took the Warriors to 7 games. If they can win the title then they could easily encourage Davis to stay with Harden and try and create a Dynasty.
With the Rockets currently up and down in 5th position, this may be the time to take a gamble and there is nobody more likely than Daryl Morey to go for it.
Offer: D'Angelo Russell, Caris Levert, Jarrett Allen, 1st Round Pick
The Nets have brought themselves into the conversation with their success and improved play of their young players turning them into attractive trade pieces. Caris Levert was playing borderline All Star basketball before his injury, Jarrett Allen has been improving all season and D'Angelo Russell has been ballin the last couple months. Levert is 24 years old and Russell is 22 while Jarrett Allen is still only 20, and all 3 have good upside for the future.
The other major point is they are in New York which is one of the two main cities that Anthony Davis wants to live in. They have infinite cap room so they could sign another star like Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard or Jimmy Butler to pair with Davis. Throw in a billionaire owner and a state of the art new arena and you have a serious dark horse for AD's signature.
Los Angeles Clippers
Offer: Tobias Harris, Montrezl Harrell, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, 1st Round Pick
The real sleeper team here that nobody is talking about this week is the L.A Clippers. They are a good team, they have a lot of players to offer and most importantly they are located in Los Angeles, the city where Anthony Davis wants to live.
The endorsements and off the court opportunities won't be as much compared to being a Laker, but hey you are still in L.A and you have the chance to be the greatest Clipper of all time and a legend forever instead of maybe the 10th best Laker. He keeps talking about this legacy but what if he brings a title to the Clippers, one of the most unsuccessful franchises in all the NBA? Wouldn't that trump anything he could achieve as a Laker?
Another major point is that the Clippers have emerged as the clear favourite to sign Kawhi Leonard, who like AD initially wanted to go to the Lakers but is happy to choose the Clippers as well so that he can still live in sunny LA.
Let's say the Clips have a successful season with Kawhi and AD or even win the championship, do you really think Davis will leave a 28 year old Kawhi Leonard in his prime to join a 35 year old Lebron James? And at the same time causing a war within the city of LA and be hated by Clipper fans for life?
And let's not forget who is the richest and most passionate owner in the NBA: Steve Ballmer. Ballmer will do anything to build a winner and being in L.A they will always be able to attract free agents.
If the Clips can get Kawhi then I think they are in the best position to challenge the Lakers, offer an attractive package AND convince Anthony Davis to stay long term. It's worth a shot for sure and especially since they are on the verge of falling out of the playoffs, this is the time to roll the dice. They should at the very least be making their best offers to the Pelicans before the Feb. 7th deadline.
Los Angeles Lakers
Best Offer - Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Ivica Zubac, Lance Stephenson, 1st Round Picks
So after all that we are back to the Lakers. As mentioned at the start of the blog, the Lakers have only offered 2 out of their 5 young assets in multiple trade packages to the Pelicans. There have been reports of Ball, Kuzma and 2 vets like Rondo and Beasley and many other combinations of Ball, Kuzma, Ingram, Zubac and Josh Hart, but surprisingly never more than 2 of them together.
This could just be a negotiation tactic to see how little they could give to get AD, but I don't understand why Magic Johnson is playing games now with these low ball offers. I am actually shocked that at least 3 of the 5 were not included together let alone 4 out of 5 which is what all experts had said was needed to make the Pelicans pull the trigger before the February 7th deadline.
I am sure this will go back and forth but by the trade deadline, 4 out of 5 of the young players will be included. The morale must already be low amongst the Laker young guns hearing their names been tossed around in every trade scenario possible and why take a chance this summer when Lebron is 34 years old. Magic needs to put it all on the table and then at least the Lakers will know they did everything they could to get him. Because if they don't offer their best package and AD ends up somewhere else, it will be one of the biggest f-ups in history and Magic will take all the blame. Imagine they didn't get AD because they were hanging on to Ivica Zubac or Josh Hart! No way this could happen.
So what will the Pelicans do?
1). Trade with the Lakers before the February 7th deadline
2). Trade with another team before the deadline
3). Trade with the Lakers this summer
4). Trade with another team this summer
The first impression is that they should definitely wait until the summer to see all the options before making a decision. The Lakers have hinted that they will look at other free agents in the summer if they can't get AD now, but I don't believe that for a second. Lebron will get impatient and if the Pelicans want to make the Lakers wait until the summer then the Lakers will still bid for him.
Also getting the Lakers young players now will just help them to win more games when they would prefer to just tank and get a high a pick as possible. And why should they help the Lakers this year if they don't have to? But there is one thing that will impact this whole decision:
The relationship between Anthony Davis and the Pelicans.
This will determine how quickly New Orleans will act and whether they will entertain the Lakers offers or not. Anthony Davis is clearly angling to be traded immediately as the news leaked now and his camp is sending all these negative signals to Boston to discourage the Pelicans from waiting until summer. One thing is clear:
Anthony Davis has played his last game for the Pelicans.
After all that has gone on and the Pelicans removing him form the intro video and hiding his jersey in the team shop clearly shows he is not part of the team anymore and can't possibly play again for them if he is not traded by the deadline.
It would just be too awkward to try and reintegrate him into the team after he has given up on them already. And what about the crowd and the intros, are you going to play the video without him and then announce his name in the starting lineup?
On top of that the Pelicans would prefer to tank so why have AD helping to win meaningless games? And finally why risk injury to your prized asset when you have to keep him healthy for the big trade. It just won't work and he either gets traded now or he is shelved for the rest of the season.
Which gets us back to our original point:
The relationship between Anthony Davis and the Pelicans.
This is the key to everything and from what I have heard although New Orleans is very upset with the decision, they have maintained a strong relationship and seem to want to work together to get what is best for both AD and the Pelicans.
Anthony Davis wants to play this season. Anthony Davis does not want to sit out when healthy. Anthony Davis would love to play the playoffs this year. Anthony Davis would love to play for the Lakers. Anthony Davis does not want to play for the Celtics or really anyone else. And the Los Angeles Lakers can offer the best package (although not offered yet).
However, I assume that New Orleans would not want to just turn into last year's Lakers especially since they have Julius Randle as well, so I would not be surprised to see a third team involved and a couple of the Lakers going to other teams (such as Lonzo to the Suns).
So with all that said, I assume as the deadline nears, Lebron is going to put immense pressure on Magic to put all the young trade chips on the table. And the Pelicans would realize if Boston is off the table because Davis does not want to go there then the Lakers package probably trumps anyone else since nobody will give up the number 1 pick and Zion Williamson for a year rental of AD.
And who knows maybe Kuzma or Lonzo or even Ingram plays really well in the playoffs and Magic (and Lebron) will not want to include them in the trade anymore, especially since there will only be one playoff run with AD before free agency instead of two. Kuz, Lonzo, Ingram and Zubac are all young enough to still have a chance to be All Stars in this league. If they are confident this is the best offer and they want to help Anthony Davis play again this season then my bet is
ANTHONY DAVIS WILL BE A LAKER RIGHT AT THE TRADE DEADLINE
....that is unless those pesky Clippers or Rockets sneak in and steal him.
Predicted New Laker Team After Trade:
F Anthony Davis
F Lebron James
C Javale McGee
G Josh Hart
G Rajon Rondo
F Michael Beasley
F Carmelo Anthony
C Tyson Chandler
G K. Caldwell Pope
G Lance Stephenson
Coach: Jason Kidd!
(Sorry Luke but this is Lebron's team now and you are Dead Man Walking).
Thanks for reading! If you like this blog please comment, share and subscribe to get future blog updates. Don't forget to follow our Facebook and Instagram to see more tips, blog updates and our NBA Player of the Day (Facebook and Instagram Icons at the bottom of this page)