With Anthony Davis making his desire to leave the New Orleans Pelicans official, NBA circles are preparing for the inevitable.
The Los Angeles Lakers are going to make a move for the All-NBA center.
Of course, they’re not the only ones. A large swath of the league will attempt to figure out packages to pry the generational talent from the Pelicans.
Lonzo Ball among many Lakers on the trade block
But the Lakers, with their stock of young talent and LeBron James openly courting Davis (whose agent is James’ good friend and business partner Rich Paul), have done little to keep secret their desire to make him their next great center.
The entire Lakers roster not named James would conceivably be fair game in a potential deal, including Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and, of course, Lonzo Ball.
Ball ended up exactly where he and his father Lavar Ball intended when he was drafted out of UCLA in 2017. Now that the Davis trade has been moved off the back burner, Ball’s camp has let it be known that Ball doesn’t want to play for the Pelicans.
Lonzo doesn’t want to play for Pelicans
The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Monday that Ball’s camp would prefer that he end up with a third team that doesn’t have an established point guard in the event of a trade.
Sources: Should Lakers/Pelicans trade talks pick up, point guard Lonzo Ball's camp prefers Ball to be moved to a third team that doesn't have an established point guard.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 29, 2019
The established point guard in New Orleans is Elfrid Payton, who shares the starting backcourt with adept ball-handler Jrue Holiday. If Payton is the bar that Ball’s “camp” doesn’t want to compete with, it’s going to be difficult to find a trade partner that meets Ball’s preferences.
Lakers will do what they want with Ball
Of course what Ball’s camp prefers makes no difference to the Lakers. Ball has zero leverage in a potential trade and would end up wherever the Lakers send him if they indeed include him in a deal for Davis.
What could put a kink in the the Davis-to-Lakers talk is the fact that Davis has another year on his current contract, and the Celtics also have a stockpile of talent that they’d conceivably like to turn into Davis.
Celtics could prompt delay in trade to offseason
The Celtics can’t trade for Davis until the offseason, though, as Kyrie Irving and Davis are both signed to extensions under the “Rose Rule” that allows some players coming off their rookie deals to sign for 30 percent of a team’s salary cap instead of the usual maximum of 25 percent. The rule is named after Derrick Rose, who was the first to sign such a deal, and teams are only allowed to have one player at a time signed under those terms.
Unless Irving is included in a deal, the Celtics can’t trade for Davis until Irving’s contract expires in the offseason.
Pelicans will deal Davis on ‘our timeline’
But the Pelicans announced on Monday that they’re in no hurry to trade Davis, noting that “we will do this on our terms and our timeline” in a statement released on Monday.
Simply put, the Pelicans don’t care if the Lakers or anybody else want Davis this season if they believe the Celtics can offer them a better package in the offseason.
Davis could pressure the Pelicans to send him where he wants to go by refusing to sign a new deal with a potential suitor, but that’s another set of concerns that will play out as the situation unfolds.
But the bottom line here for Ball is that it doesn’t matter where he wants to go. The Lakers will gladly make the No. 2 pick in the 2017 draft a pawn if it means they can get Davis in return.
More from Yahoo Sports:
• Saints player still upset: His Pro Bowl shirt says it all
• Golfer loses nearly $100K for questionable penalty
• Funny ending to rain-soaked, blooper-filled Pro Bowl
• Reigning MVP backs out of White House visit