Davis tells Pelicans he wants a trade
New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis doesn't plan to sign a contract extension and has told the team he wants to be traded, ESPN reported Monday morning. "Anthony wants to be traded to a team that allows him a chance to win consistently and compete for a championship," said Rich Paul, who is Davis' agent. "Anthony wanted to be honest and clear with his intentions and that's the reason for informing them of this decision now. That's in the best interests of both Anthony's and the organization's future."
Yahoo Sports reported Davis wants to play in a big market as well, not just on a winning team. The report added that the Philadelphia 76ers are not expected to be interested, but the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks are preparing to make offers. The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 7, but New Orleans has given no indication it wants to trade Davis this season.
The Pelicans released a statement Monday afternoon, confirming they received the trade request from Davis. "This past weekend, Anthony Davis' representatives informed us that Anthony does not wish to sign a contract extension with our team and subsequently has requested a trade," the statement said. "Although we are disappointed in this decision, our organization's top priority is to bring an NBA championship to our city and fans and build our team for long-term success.
"Relative to specific talks of a trade, we will do this on our timeline. One that make sense for our team and it will not be dictated by those outside of our organization. We have also requested the League to strictly enforce the tampering rules associated with this transaction." ESPN later reported the league is investigating Davis' situation for impropriety. The report notes that an on-the-record request for a trade, by an agent or a player, can be subject to a fine.
The Pelicans selected Davis with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft. He has been named first-team All-NBA three times and has appeared in five All-Star games. He turns 26 in March. Davis signed a five-year, $127 million contract before the 2016-17 season. The fifth year is a player option, so Davis could become a free agent in the summer of 2020. He would be eligible to sign a five-year, $240 million supermax extension this summer, but has told the team he will not do so.
The Lakers and Boston Celtics have been mentioned often as the teams that will pursue Davis most aggressively. LeBron James also is represented by Paul, and in December, James was asked his thoughts about the possibility of Davis one day joining him with the Lakers. "That would be amazing," James said.
The Lakers are in a position to try to put together a package now to appeal to the Pelicans. The Celtics cannot trade for Davis under league rules until July 1 because Davis and Kyrie Irving couldn't be on the same roster because of designated rookie exceptions in their contracts. Yahoo reports Boston is not one of Davis' top targets, in part because of uncertainty about whether Irving will re-sign there this summer, as he has said he will.
The Knicks might be in play, too. "You're gonna see the Knicks try to be aggressive here now," ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said Monday on Golic and Wingo.
"If you're the Knicks, Kristaps Porzingis is a player who New Orleans would have to believe they could re-sign if they traded for him. And he may not be open to that. So, if you're the Knicks, the best chance you have is getting the No. 1 overall pick and being in a position post-lottery time where you could tell the Pelicans, 'Hey, you can have Zion Williamson, you could rebuild with him.'" Davis is averaging 29.3 points and 13.3 rebounds per game. He has missed the past four games with a fractured left index finger.
At 22-28, the Pelicans are in 13th place in the Western Conference, six games out of the final playoff spot. --Field Level Media