According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Pelicans want four first-round picks (the most LA. can legally send) AND four second-round picks in exchange for Davis. This is presumably in addition to the loaded offer of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, veteran salary-matchers, and absorption of Solomon Hill’s contract.
Teams can only trade first-round picks every other year, meaning LA would part with its 2019, 2021, 2023 and 2025 picks, since teams can only deal seven years in advance.
The Pelicans have little incentive to rush a deal this week, as Davis is under contract until the following year. They could choose to sit Davis out for the rest of the season and negotiate with the Boston Celtics — who are currently barred from an AD trade due to a CBA loophole involving Kyrie Irving’s contract — over the summer for a more lucrative package. Boston has four first-round picks in the 2019 draft alone, and could offer the best prospect in Jayson Tatum. It remains to be seen if Boston will offer all that given Davis’ reported preference to not play for Boston.
For now, it seems New Orleans is pushing LA to the max, and that might not even be enough, as Wojnarowski reported the four first-round picks offer would be enough for New Orleans to “consider” a deal now. It’s possible the Pels tuck that Lakers’ offer away to start the bidding again in a few months.
So are the Lakers out?
Though it seems as if we’re on the brink of panic for the Lakers, there’s still another two days left until the deadline. That’s an eternity. Just as quickly as the narrative has shifted from AD adding the Bucks, Clippers and Knicks to his list to what we know now, it’ll turn in another direction before all is said is done.
New Orleans is in control, and time is its friend. It’ll milk that time until the Lakers cave (or don’t), and a decision will be made.
The Lakers have to take stock now and wonder: Is dealing every non-LeBron James piece they have for Davis worth it? Davis is only 25, and already a top-seven or better player. If the James dynasty falls short, LA could have a decade-long title window to compete for titles should AD re-sign.
But if this goes down in flames, it crashes and burns without enough water-pressure to even calm the disaster a little. They’ll be asset-less and pick-deprived. It’d be a slow climb to the top.
This is Anthony Davis, though. The Pelicans can’t and won’t settle for anything. It’s time to see if Magic Johnson is ready to go all-in.