While the fledgling New Orleans Pelicans front office has insisted in recent weeks that Anthony Davis is “open to staying” and that the team remains committed to rebuilding around him, newly hired executive vice president David Griffin has begun listening to trade offers for the NBA superstar, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Emboldened by their lottery victory and the promise of adding No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson to a roster that already includes All-Star-caliber point guard Jrue Holiday, the incoming Pelicans brass had confidence they could convince Davis to rescind his midseason trade request and sign a supermax extension this summer.
Instead, Davis, who wore a “That’s All Folks” T-shirt to his team’s season finale, has not changed his mind, according to Charania, and the Pelicans — still hopeful they can sell him on a new vision — have begun fielding offers from around the league.
Following what was termed a positive meeting between Griffin and Davis in mid-May, the two sides agreed to maintain a dialogue about the team’s direction. At that time, the Pelicans regime that took over for outgoing general manager Dell Demps had yet to engage in trade discussions, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported.
The belief around the NBA is that the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets can make the most attractive trade offers for Davis, per Charania, who previously reported that the six-time All-Star has made it known he would re-sign with the Lakers, Knicks, Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers.
Griffin can trade Davis to whichever team he pleases, but Davis does have some influence over the incoming offers. He can become an unrestricted free agent in 2020, so his willingness to sign long-term with potential suitors could improve bids.
The Pelicans could keep Davis and continue pleading him to stay before ultimately trading him in February, when offers may not be as strong, or letting him walk, which would prevent them from acquiring foundational assets to accelerate a rebuild around Williamson. This latest news sure sounds like a signal to suitors that now is the time to get your best offers in, because trade season is almost upon us.
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