NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Anthony Davis, Kent Bazemore and More

Maurice Bobb@@ReeseReportFeatured ColumnistDecember 19, 2018

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 22: Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans smiles during the first half against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Smoothie King Center on March 22, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers are not ready to give up on their pursuit of New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis.

The 6'10" power forward will hit the free agency market next summer.

The Lakers, however, don't appear to want to wait that long.

According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, they are hoping to beat out the Boston Celtics, who also covet the five-time NBA All-Star, in a potential trade deal.

"The Lakers' fantasy haul, of course, is twofold," Stein wrote. "They want to sign an elite free agent from the Kevin Durant/Kawhi Leonard tier next summer with the significant salary-cap space they are on course to possess. But the Lakers also dream of beating out Boston's well-chronicled treasure trove of trade assets in a pitch for Davis with some combination of L.A.'s own promising starlets: Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Lonzo Ball."

L.A. dangling its young core in trade discussions is a huge departure, but Davis is no average player.

He's a three-time All-NBA first team selection who is averaging 28 points, 12.4 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 2.8 blocks and 1.7 steals per game this season.

Team president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka would love to get the high-scoring big man to play alongside LeBron James.

"That would be amazing," James told ESPN's Dave McMenamin on the Lakers potentially landing Davis through via trade. "That would be amazing, like, duh. That would be incredible."

The Lakers have the upper hand over the Celtics because the latter can't sign Davis until Kyrie Irving, who is on a rookie scale extension, signs a new contract.

They also have a leg up because Davis signed with Klutch Sports' Rich Paul, who is James' agent, back in September.

Stein reported that the thinking around the league is that L.A. should explore all trade scenarios now while Boston's hands are tied.

"Boston has been hawking Anthony Davis for years," ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said during the Woj & Lowe show. "They always hoped that it would be the end of this season or the beginning of next season's trade deadline that they would gather up all those assets, all those picks Danny Ainge has, young players, and they be the team to be able to get Anthony Davis.

"But now you have L.A., if they get shut out in free agency, they're going to have to take all their young players and try to use them to get Anthony Davis."

The Pelicans can offer Davis a super-max contract extension for over $200 million this summer. If he doesn't accept it, they'll be forced to trade him, so they won't be left with nothing if he bolts in 2020.

The likelihood of Davis choosing to stay in NOLA is slim considering the Pelicans aren't contending for a title and have no real path towards acquiring the type of players that will boost their chances at postseason success.

Still, the Pelicans aren't exactly rushing to deal their superstar.

"If you can trade him for anybody, then he is the most valuable guy in the league. Not that we would ever consider that," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said in October, per McMenamin. "There's no one in the league that we would trade him for, and there's no one out of the league—not even Beyonce. If we wouldn't trade him for her, he's probably untouchable."

Davis has two years left on his contract. He's owed $27.1 million next year and $28.8 million in 2020-21.

       

Contenders Have Eyes for Kent Bazemore

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 05:  Kent Bazemore #24 of the Atlanta Hawks reacts after being charged with a travel against the Washington Wizards at State Farm Arena on December 5, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees t
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Atlanta Hawks forward Kent Bazemore could be on the move.

The Hawks still value Bazemore's production and veteran presence in the locker room, but his name has become popular recently in the trade rumor mill.

Contending teams have expressed interest in the 29-year-old swingman because of his versatility, reported Stein.

Bazemore is averaging 13.2 points on 44.2 percent shooting and 1.7 steals per game this season.

Since Atlanta is essentially in rebuild mode, teams that want to make a deep run in the playoffs could use an asset like Bazemore because of his ability as a two-way player.

"The interest in Bazemore comes even with one more season left on his contract after this one at a heady $19.3 million," Stein wrote. "Which tells you that, in this marketplace, he's regarded as a difference-maker."

While Bazemore is only connecting on 31.4 percent of his shots from behind the arc, he has a career average of 35.5 percent, so he has shown that he can drill it from deep.

The ability to stretch the floor with long distance shooting is high on the list for any team looking to make noise in the postseason.

Before joining the Eastern Conference, Bazemore played with the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers.

That experience could prove valuable because he's likely headed back out West in a deal, according to Stein.

"There appear to be more buyers than sellers in the marketplace, thanks in part to a Western Conference in which 14 of the 15 teams believe they are in contention for eight playoff spots," he wrote.

Whether he'll stay in the East or end up in the Western Conference, the smart money is on him heading out of Atlanta before the Feb. 15 trade deadline.

       

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope headed to Houston?

MEMPHIS, TN - JANUARY 15:  Kentavious Caldwell-Pope #1 of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball against Tyreke Evans #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies on January 15, 2018 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agre
Joe Murphy/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets are interested in shoring up their roster with a perimeter player.

To that end, they are targeting Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, according to Stein.

Houston expressed exploratory interest in Cleveland Cavaliers veteran JR Smith, but he isn't as high on their list as Caldwell-Pope.

The 25-year old's numbers are down this season, but that's due to the Lakers' focus on developing their young players.

He's averaging 9.1 points on 40.7 percent shooting and 2.5 rebounds per game. Last year, he put up 13.4 points per outing on 42.6 percent shooting.

The former University of Georgia standout is also a proven defender.

The Rockets could face stiff competition for Caldwell-Pope's services, though, as the New Orleans Pelicans and the Philadelphia 76ers could also throw their hats into the ring during trade talks.

Stein reported that Caldwell-Pope would potentially be interested in joining Houston if the Rockets were able to make a deal, but he does have veto power due to the One-Year Bird rule.

He signed a one-year, $12 million deal back in July, but it was with the same team he played for in 2017-18.

The six-year veteran is hoping for a more pronounced role because he wants to get a long-term contract offer this summer, so Houston could be an ideal spot.

Caldwell-Pope would also be a nice consolation prize for the Rockets after their goal to get Trevor Ariza back in Houston fell through.

Their former prototype three-and-D guy was dealt by the Phoenix Suns to the Washington Wizards this past weekend.

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