Anthony Davis officially requested a trade early Monday morning, confirming a not-so-secret league-wide suspicion held by everyone with a Twitter feed.
His agent, Rich Paul, told ESPN that he’d like to be traded to a “contender.”
It’s not clear yet whether that means he’d like to be traded before the Feb. 7 trade deadline for this season.
There are a number of different destinations for Davis (Lakers, Celtics), but I’d rather not get caught up in where he will go.
Davis is under contract through the 2019-20 season, with a player option for the following season.
What incentive does New Orleans have to sell him? Sure, he could walk away after next season and the Pelicans would have gotten nothing for him in return.
But, would you rather have two more seasons with a once-in-a-lifetime player, or sell him for pennies on the dollar just so you can say you got something?
The Lakers could offer something like Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma and a pick for Davis.
The Celtics could package any number of their young assets, plus a salary dump and draft picks, but they couldn’t do so until after this season because of a weird rule that states that a team cannot have two players with a franchise tag (the Celtics would have to wait until the summer and hope that Kyrie Irving opts out of his player option).
Instead, I propose the Pelicans do nothing. If Davis wants to sit and pout, let him. Let him tank his value, ruin the good will he’s built up over the years. I doubt he would do that anyway.
Continue to try to acquire players that improve the roster, and see if you can talk him into staying.
In the few games that the Pelicans have been healthy this season, they have shown their potential. Last season, an inferior Pelicans team swept the third-seeded Trail Blazers in the first round of the playoffs and even picked up a win against the Warriors in the second round.
If they get healthy this season, the West is wide open. If they sneak into the conference finals, maybe Davis sees the value in being the centerpiece on a contender versus being second-fiddle to LeBron or Kyrie.
This is my point, anyway. Davis is so good, he should be dragging teams to Finals appearances anyway. If LeBron or Durant was on this Pelicans roster, we’d expect them to be a contender.
So, if Davis wants to put himself in the conversation of being an all-timer, his best opportunity is to do it in New Orleans.
If he goes to the Lakers, he will never be anything more than Bron’s sidekick.
Durant is still just Steph Curry’s sidekick.
I know, I know, I’m obviously upset.
I’m all for player power, but all of the “demanding trades” has gone too far.
You can demand all you want, but New Orleans signed you to a five-year deal and is under no obligation to trade you for under your value just because your team isn’t good enough.