While you open your presents in the holiday tradition you celebrate this time of year, a few NBA teams may be seeking a gift or two in the form of a trade. What greater gift is there than a player who improves your team, after all?
With that in mind, let's take a look at two of the most intriguing trade rumors making the rounds.
Everybody Wants Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis, one of the top young players in the NBA, remains a fixation for teams trying to pry him away from the New Orleans Pelicans, as Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported:
"Davis remains an obsession of several NBA teams full of the necessary trade assets to unfasten him from New Orleans, should the Pelicans ever consider a rebuild—or should Davis ever request a trade. Boston has remained vigilant on the possibility of acquiring Davis, and Davis knows it. However, the Pelicans have no intention of trading an all-world talent under contract through 2021, no matter the return."
Obviously, the Pelicans have little incentive to deal Davis anytime soon. But things could change in a hurry.
The Pelicans find themselves on the fringes of the postseason picture, lost in the mix of teams outside of the top four in the Western Conference. While Davis and DeMarcus Cousins seem more than capable of coexisting, the Pelicans have been unable to surround them with much of a supporting cast. If the team fails to make the postseason this year—or bows out quickly—it could be the first domino to drop.
Cousins' pending free agency could be the second. If the talented center decides to head elsewhere in free agency, Davis is once again left with a supporting cast that leaves him little chances of winning. And if the Pelicans aren't able to attract another big-time player at some point in Davis' tenure, perhaps a trade request could come sometime next season.
How long will Davis wait for the Pelicans to build him a winner? At what point does he decide his best chances at winning a title may come elsewhere? Can the Pelicans prevent him dreaming of greener pastures by building a legitimate contender?
Davis himself has started asking himself the tough questions, as he told Wojnarowski:
"...You see how organizations treat players. Isaiah Thomas. DeMarcus [Cousins] told me that the [Sacramento Kings] told him that he wasn't going to get traded, but they traded him. Isaiah took his team to the Eastern Conference finals, and they traded him.
"It makes you wonder: Does this organization really have my back? I've been loyal to this organization. I love it here. I love this team. I think we're moving in the right direction. DeMarcus, Rondo, some other players that are helping us, but people get judged on winning. And I want to win.
"It's not about the money. It's not about having fans. The most important thing to me: Winning. That's what I want to do. And I want to do it here."
Whether that's a likelihood—or even a possibility—will become far clearer as the season progresses and over the summer in free agency.
Thunder Unlikely to Move Paul George This Season
The Oklahoma City Thunder are struggling, as Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George struggle to coexist, but that doesn't mean the Thunder are likely to trade George—a pending free agent—this season.
As Sean Deveney of the Sporting News reported: "Around the league, executives believe the Thunder did not acquire star Paul George only to turn around and trade him. Thus, expect the Thunder to beat the bushes for another shooter who can help create space and, possibly, an additional defender. Depth is still a big issue, and that can be addressed."
The Thunder would be wise to try to make things work. While it's possible George is simply biding time until he can sign with his hometown Los Angeles Lakers, George would have a fascinating decision on his hands if the Thunder turn things around and become a true title contender. Frankly, the team plays the sort of defense that could give teams like the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets some issues.
Well, if the Thunder can ever find any sort of offensive flow or rhythm, that is.
From an asset perspective, trading George isn't without its logic: get something back for a player who might leave for nothing. But from a team-building perspective, wouldn't the better player to trade be Anthony?
Melo's isolation style of offense hasn't exactly fit in seamlessly with Westbrook's high usage. Where George is more comfortable off the ball in a spot-up shooting role, Anthony is accustomed to seeing a healthy amount of touches. And whereas George provides solid defense even when he isn't having a great offensive night, Anthony has never provided much on that end of the court.
The Thunder, then, often find themselves with a glaring weak spot both on defense and on offense (Andre Roberson). Westbrook is still learning how to balance his role as a point guard with his role as the team's most dangerous scorer, and the whole thing just looks completely out of sync at points.
George is the name that comes up in trade talks given his looming free agency. But it's Anthony that often appears to be the puzzle piece that doesn't quite fit.