This feels like Anthony Davis and his team/agent trying to assert control over the process, trying to ward off franchises where he does not want to be traded.
Pelicans’ VP of Basketball Operations David Griffin has started talking to teams about a potential Davis trade, seeking as big a haul as he can get, and he is discussing multi-team deals with a number of organizations. Davis has always wanted to land in Los Angeles or New York (the Bucks were on his original list as well), so now comes this report via Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Davis is now focused on the Lakers and Knicks as the two desired long-term destinations, league sources told The Athletic. Davis has not given Griffin or the Pelicans a new formal list. He will be a free agent in 2020.
How could that impact teams such as the Celtics or Nets who are interested in Davis? It is unquestioned that a trade for either organization would provide a gamble for either Boston president Danny Ainge or Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks. Several teams — including the Celtics — are aggressive about pursuing Davis understanding they would potentially lose him after one season, when he is set to become a free agent. The Celtics want to pursue Davis and believe in their roster with or without Kyrie Irving, league sources said.
Again, this is Davis trying to assert control over the situation.
Griffin is under zero obligation to send Davis where he wants to go, Griffin is just going to get the best deal for the Pelicans.
That said, this could give some teams pause in their pursuit of Davis. He will be a free agent in 2020, meaning Davis can walk away from any team that trades for him. That is some leverage, but after the success that Toronto had with Kawhi Leonard and Oklahoma City had with Paul George, some teams will just roll the dice anyway. Boston, the Clippers, the Nets feel they can win him over with their culture.
Griffin is going to ignore the rumors/talk (and do a better job keeping a lid on them than the previous New Orleans administration did at the deadline) and do what is best for New Orleans.
That’s not going to stop the rumors from flying for the next week or so. Expect the trade to be made around the Draft (even if it can’t be executed until July).