The Brow is on the market.
We know the team that should make a push to trade for Anthony Davis now is the Los Angeles Lakers. They have the young assets and expiring contracts to give LeBron James the second superstar he needs to compete for a title in Tinseltown.
But from the New Orleans Pelicans’ perspective, the question is: Why make the trade now? It actually doesn’t make a ton of sense when you stop and think about it.
Here’s a breakdown of why the Pels’ front office should keep Davis through the end of the season and wait until July to make a deal:
1. The Warriors are probably going to win it all this year
That’s significant for a few reasons, one of which is it drives down the market for Davis. If you’re a team like the Portland Trail Blazers or Oklahoma City Thunder who is contending in the West, you might not want to waste a trade for an upgrade like Davis if the conference is going to come down to the Warriors vs. the Houston Rockets.
Waiting until the summer gives the Pelicans the advantage of seeing if Kevin Durant and/or Klay Thompson bolt, something that opens up the league and makes other teams think they have a championship window.
2. The Celtics will be in the mix
Boston can’t make a deal until July because both Davis and Kyrie Irving are on “Rose Rule” contracts. Unless Boston blows up the current roster in the next week and deals Irving to give them a shot at Davis, the Celtics have to wait.
That might be to the Pelicans’ advantage. They could ask for Jayson Tatum, who continues to blossom as a star on a crowded Boston roster. And Tatum plus Jaylen Brown is a better package than Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma or Lonzo Ball from the Lakers.
Either way, adding another hungry team to the mix can only drive up the price for Davis.
3. They can wait to see who gets the No. 1 pick
This tweet reminded me of that fact:
Imagine you’re the New York Knicks for a second. You end up with the first overall pick and a chance to draft Zion Williamson … or deal that pick for one of the top five players in the NBA. Not as easy of a decision as it sounds, right?
4. The Pelicans might want to tank
At 22-28 in the crowded West and with Davis’s request made public, what else is there to play for? I’d assume New Orleans would tell Davis to stay home and heal fully from his finger injury. Then, I’d also assume they’d start shopping around Nikola Mirotic and his expiring deal and hope someone will take Solomon Hill’s bloated contract in the process. Either way, dealing Davis now might mean they win more. And that’s not the goal at the moment.
Think a trade will happen by next week? Not so fast.