As trade talks heat up around Pelicans star Anthony Davis, New Orleans has a preferred destination for making a deal work.
The Lakers and Celtics have emerged as front-runners to land Davis, but New Orleans would rather send Davis to the Celtics, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst explained earlier this week on “The Jump.”
Windhorst’s comments came after it was reported the Lakers have “made progress towards completing a multiteam deal” for Davis and Los Angeles has discussed using its No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft as an asset.
“I think it’s a good sign that David Griffin is shopping the No. 4 pick. That at least means he’s open to a deal with the Lakers,” Windhorst said. “But I think all of this is a maneuver to draw as much as he possibly can out of the Celtics. They’ve preferred to deal with the Celtics since Dell Demps was the general manager. The Lakers’ offers haven’t changed that much. They have a higher pick, but they don’t really have different players to offer. If he really wanted to make the Lakers deal, and he really wanted the draft pick, he would’ve already made the Lakers deal.”
However, the Boston Globe reported the Celtics are hesitant to extend an offer with their best assets because of uncertainty surrounding Davis’s long-term future in Boston. It has been speculated that if Davis goes to Boston, he would play out the final season of his contract and then become a free agent.
The six-time All-Star told the Pelicans in late January that he didn’t plan to re-sign with the franchise when he could opt out of his contract after 2019-20, and he asked New Orleans to move him. The Pelicans were in negotiations with several teams (including the Celtics and the Lakers) before February’s trade deadline but failed to make a deal.
Davis, who averaged 25.9 points and 12 rebounds in 56 games during the regular season, led the Pelicans to a 33-49 record. New Orleans missed the playoffs for the third time in four seasons.
The Pelicans could look to move Davis before the 2019 NBA Draft, which is set for Thursday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.