Destinations for Anthony Davis

Destinations for Anthony Davis

Davis’ transfer request comes as no surprise, seeing how he singlehandedly (Sorry Jrue Holiday) carried the New Orleans Pelicans to the playoffs and played hard on a nightly basis to keep the team in contention. But by requesting for a transfer with just two weeks left in the trade deadline and omitting Boston out of the option, something smells fishy here.

It may seem like a direct request to head to either the Los Angeles Lakers or the New York Knicks – and conspiracy theories are floating around that Rich Paul, who is both Lebron James and Davis’ agent, perpetuated this move.

In exchange for Davis, only both the Lakers and Boston Celtics have young core players who are dispensible and draft picks ready to be let go. Boston can probably build the most enticing trade package, but that depends on the team’s willingness to include Jayson Tatum in talks. Jaylen Brown has fallen severely below expectations this season and is no longer viable as a hot prospect. However, Boston is unable to trade for Davis without letting Kyrie Irving go due to both of them being on designated rookie-scale extensions.

The Pelicans can hold off until summer to hold talks, and that would encourage bigger packages once the season has ended and teams such as the Knicks, Cavaliers, who are tanking may get a protected lottery pick in the draft – Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, and Ja Morant are valuable pieces to build around for the future.

According to reports, Pelicans front office has stated to the Lakers that they have to start their package with Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac and a first-round pick to start the ball rolling.

The Lakers have gone through this situation more common than not in recent years, as they tried to acquire both Paul George and Kawhi Leonard but ended up futile.

Based on the statement that Davis “wants to be traded to a team that allows him a chance to win consistently and compete for a championship,” by his agent Rich Paul, here are the teams aside from the Lakers which Davis could end up at.

Portland Trailblazers

Portland is one of the many teams that seems stuck in limbo. The dynamic backcourt duo has been together since 2013 and has made the playoffs each time. However, reaching the Conference Semis twice in the past five seasons have been the only highlight for Portland. The Pelicans could do with either one of them, although both of them to be involved with the trade is almost impossible. Two non-Nurkic players, a couple of lottery picks and either one of the guards could prove enticing for the Pelicans. They do have to let go of Evan Turner in the trade to open up their salary cap.

Milwaukee Bucks

This would command an all-time ridiculous hype for the small market Bucks if they could actually signify interest. Giannis is out of the question. But how about the other starters, Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon, Eric Bledsoe are all pieces that would seem worth to let go for Davis. The Bucks are at an all-time high, as Eastern conference leaders and are poised to make a breakthrough this year in the playoffs. Aside from these key pieces of the surprising Bucks, they don’t really have any valuable assets. There is a 2020 top-seven protected pick that they can use as collateral. Salary wise, if they let go of George Hill and Bledsoe, it will free up more than 60 million in cap space.

LA Clippers

Ever since all three stars of ‘Lob City’ left the Clippers, they seem to be struggling whether they are rebuilding or trying to get a playoff spot. They are now 8th in the West but still maintaining a 0.549 record this season despite having a ton of key players out due to injury. Now, Doc Rivers has said himself that they are not rebuilding but re-branding the franchise. So with Davis on their roster? Impeccable. But what players do the Clippers have to let go in exchange for the star forward – their own star forward. Tobias Harris is seen to be the only indispensable player on the Clippers, aside from Harris, they are literally running on fumes. Maybe a young prospect in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Montrezl Harrell and a veteran like Lou Williams could open discussions.

Philadelphia 76ers

Putting the Sixers on this list was tricky, but they do have some assets which could be less valuable than it seems; Ben Simmons and Jimmy Butler. Nevertheless, Simmons and Butler are key players but the team could add Davis to their line-up to present again one of the greatest big-man team in the league. Both Joel Embiid and Davis are excellent two-way stretch bigs, like how DeMarcus Cousins was when he played on the Pelicans. Butler needs a team that is focused centrally on him as the primary offense and has stated time and again he needs to run his own team. Butler’s contract runs out in 2020, and the Sixers might look to swap him for a long-term franchise player like Davis. Assuming Butler does not opt-in his extension, the Sixers will start the 2019 offseason with $55 million in salary cap space – perfect for Davis. Simmons, on the other hand, is running on a rookie contract BUT his perceived value in the league is extremely high which might entice the Pelicans to take him in exchange for Jrue Holiday which can seriously turn the Sixers into a monster in the East. Either way, they can run the point with TJ McConnell or Markelle Fultz – if he ever returns to the court.

Toronto Raptors

Oh boy, this could turn really ugly or again create a monster in the East. With Kawhi Leonard’s future in the air, the Raptors could make or break with a trade for Davis. Pascal Siakam and Jonas Valanciunas and OG Anuoby would be the main chips for the trade. Siakam has been a great role player for the Raptors and is averaging 15 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. He would be the direct replacement for Davis. On the other hand, Valanciunas makes up for Siakam’s lack of size in the paint and everything that Davis possesses. Essentially, as funny as it may seem, the combination of Siakam and Valanciunas equals to Davis. Davis is averaging 29 points, 13 rebounds, and four assists. Valanciunas has a stat line of 12 points, seven rebounds and one assist. If you do the maths, they’re almost identical. However, Serge Ibaka may need to move to free up the salary cap.

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