Pelicans aren’t taking Lakers’ Anthony Davis trade offers seriously

Anthony Davis Pelicans (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Anthony Davis Pelicans (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Anthony Davis wants to be a Laker, but the Pelicans have yet to get a trade offer from Los Angeles that even warrants picking up the phone.

It has been a whirlwind of rumors, leaks, smoke, and mirrors around the NBA as the Anthony Davis Trade Saga speeds towards the February 7th trade deadline. The Los Angeles Lakers have expressed serious interest in pairing Davis with LeBron James, and the feeling seems to be mutual, as Davis has not been shy about naming Los Angeles his most desired destination. However, the New Orleans Pelicans are still waiting on an offer to come in from LA that’s even worth considering.

It seems whenever any star player requests a trade, it leaks soon after that they desire to end up in Los Angeles. These rumors came out about Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, and now Anthony Davis. However, as we’ve seen with these previous three examples, the Lakers never seem to pony up an offer that actually lands them these caliber of players. Their offer for Paul George a couple of years ago was almost laughable.

The Lakers thought they could lowball the Pacers, because they were convinced PG would come to them in free agency anyway, so why offer anything Indiana would actually want? Well, as we saw that next offseason, George was won over by the Oklahoma City Thunder, the team that was actually willing to give up a couple of valuable assets for the two-way wing. He signed a new contract with the Thunder, leaving the Lakers in the dust.

Los Angeles can’t afford to treat this Anthony Davis situation the same way. LeBron James is clearly still incredible, but his clock is ticking. The Lakers would be wise to move swiftly to add a top 10 guy like Davis to make a run at a title. However, to this point, the Lakers have only offered deals so underwhelming that it was reported a couple days ago that Pelicans GM Dell Demps hasn’t even been returning the Lakers’ calls. When reports leaked last night about what the Lakers first put on the table in exchange for AD, you can see why:

An offer like this is clearly not up to snuff for a player like Anthony Davis, especially when teams like the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics have better assets to send the Pelicans’ way. It’s been reported that Lonzo Ball has no interest in playing for New Orleans and would prefer a third team gets involved to take his contract instead, so including him in offers to New Orleans might not have any long-term benefit at all for the Pelicans.

While Lonzo doesn’t really have any real say in this process, why would the Pelicans accept an offer for a guy that doesn’t even want to be on the team, a subpar draft pick, Kyle Kuzma, and two expendable players? Kuzma has great potential, but he alone is not worth a swap for Anthony Davis.

In situations like these, there’s so much posturing that goes on as both teams try to make each other think they have all the leverage. Dell Demps tried to create leverage by not returning LA’s phone calls, while tweets like these make it seem like the Lakers are giving an ultimatum to the Pelicans by essentially saying, “Trade us Davis now, or we won’t be interested in the summer anymore.”

The Lakers can try to manipulate these negotiations all they want, but the fact remains that the Pelicans potentially have much more to gain by waiting until the summer to find a trade partner to ship Davis to, because then Boston will be allowed to get in on the action, and the NBA draft order will be set in stone. All of this points to the Pelicans having much more leverage in this stalemate, so it’s totally on the Lakers to offer up more young assets, such as Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and Ivica Zubac possibly combined with Kyle Kuzma and/or Lonzo Ball in order for the Pelicans to even consider trading them AD before the deadline.

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Time could be running out for the Los Angeles Lakers in their pursuit of Anthony Davis. Will they finally decide to make a bold move and go all-in on another star to pair with LeBron, or will they dare the Pelicans to look elsewhere and risk missing out on Anthony Davis completely? We’ll keep you in the loop as the situation continues to unfold.