The price will be hefty, but this could benefit both teams greatly. A trade package for Davis would look something like this: Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, the No. 4 pick, and a first round pick in 2021.
This benefits the Pelicans because they’d be getting a young core of guys to put around Zion Williamson and a pick to get another good player in the draft, and they’d still have veteran point guard Jrue Holiday.
For the Lakers and LeBron James, landing Davis would be a clear win – you’re getting one of the best big men in the game, if not the best. This may allow them to sign Davis to a long-term contract and land another top star, like Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving.
Even if the Lakers don't sign Irving, there are other stars they could target – like the Philadelphia 76ers' Jimmy Butler, a free agent this summer, or Kawhi Leonard, whose camp made it clear he preferred to go to LA before being traded to Toronto.
New York Knicks
Despite missing out on the No. 1 pick in last month's NBA Draft lottery, the Knicks could still be on the verge of a monumental summer if a few things would go their way.
They will have cap space to offer two max contracts, and rumors suggest that Kevin Durant, another forward who rules the NBA, is interested in a move to New York. A Durant-Irving team-up has been the most persistent rumor, one that Knicks fans would love.
If that pairing comes to fruition, the Knicks' next move should be to get Davis. A potential Knicks package for Davis includes the No. 3 pick, Kevin Knox, one or two of their young guards – Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, or Emmanuel Mudiay – and a hefty number of future picks. The Knicks' trade assets are not amazing, but it is still possible for them to land Davis.
For the Pelicans, a trade with the Knicks leaves them with a nice sum of draft picks and a young prospect in Knox to pair with Williamson. If New Orleans decides to ship Davis before the season, it would give them more control over their return as opposed to waiting until the trade deadline. A whole season with Anthony Davis is better than a half-season.
The Celtics' situation with Irving is their biggest concern for the summer. Irving wants out, and one way to keep him happy would be to trade for Davis, which would provide more touches for Irving while keeping Boston in the title hunt.
The Pelicans are going to want Jayson Tatum, one of the best up-and-coming small forwards in the game. The Celtics could also throw in a number of first-round picks, Jaylen Brown, and Al Horford, if he re-signs. With this trade, Tatum would be able to pair up with Williamson, who are both, coincidentally, from Duke, and continue playing with a promising guard in Brown and a veteran center in Horford.
Although Davis didn't have Boston on his list of preferred destinations, a chance to compete for a title with Irving may convince him to stay. After a disappointing season where locker room turmoil, injuries and lack of team chemistry plagued the Celtics, Davis may be the piece that can help improve the team’s standing and push them higher in the East.
No matter where Davis ends up, his potential departure will be an earthshaking storyline. David Griffin, Pelicans vice president, still seems to prefer to keep Davis and try and make things work, but should a trade come to pass, the Lakers, Knicks and Celtics have the best chance. In the NBA, though, one thing is certain: nothing is guaranteed.
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