The trade-talk reports between Los Angeles and New Orleans left many wondering how serious the Pelicans were about dealing with the Lakers at the NBA trade deadline.
The Lakers reportedly offered up the bulk of the talent on their roster not named LeBron James in addition to multiple draft picks to no avail. After being turned down for what amounted to the Lakers’ best reasonable offer, Magic Johnson slammed the Pelicans for not negotiating in good faith.
Some thought the Pelicans only intended to disrupt the Lakers’ chemistry with the trade reports out of anger about the public courting of Davis in Los Angeles — that they never intended to accept any offer from the Lakers.
Report: Pelicans knew of potential better off from Celtics
A report from The Athletic on Monday sheds more light on what may have been going on in the Pelicans’ front office. It sounds like New Orleans knew at the deadline that it would field better offers in the offseason.
Shams Charania reports that the Boston Celtics reached out to the Pelicans to let them know that anyone on their roster would be available.
From the report:
“Around the NBA’s Feb. 7th trade deadline, Boston made their intentions clear to the New Orleans Pelicans surrounding their pursuit of All-NBA star Anthony Davis after the season, league sources told The Athletic: Everyone can be available.”
“Everyone” here includes Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, two young players who have shown significant more promise as NBA difference makers than the Lakers’ young core of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma.
Tatum, Brown are more proven assets
With the Celtics missing star players Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward during the playoffs last season, Tatum and Brown helped lead the team to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. Tatum was a rookie, and Brown was in his second season.
The Lakers’ young core is in danger of missing the playoffs this season while playing alongside James.
With Hayward and Irving back, the Celtics have a glut of talent and would apparently like to flip multiple players in exchange for a superstar like Davis.
Would Davis tempt Kyrie to stay?
Irving is presumably not part of the “everyone” package, as he won’t be under contract at the end of the season. A deal to bring Davis in would certainly be a significant incentive for Irving to remain in Boston, a prospect he has wavered on since vowing to re-sign with the Celtics before the season started.
The last year on Irving’s contract is also the reason the Celtics couldn’t engage the Pelicans for a deadline deal. Both Irving and Davis are signed to “Rose Rule” deals that allow teams to play elite young talent a higher percentage of their salary cap than normal. Only one “Rose Rule” deal is allowed per team.
The bottom line here is that the Lakers can’t compete with whatever the Celtics are reportedly offering. It was an assumption at the deadline when a deal wasn’t consummated that has been confirmed by Monday’s report from The Athletic.
With that being the case, then no. The Pelicans presumably had zero intention of dealing Davis to the lakers at the trade deadline.
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