On Monday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported the Lakers have increased their offer to the Pelicans to include "multiple young players, multiple draft picks and Pelicans salary-cap relief" as they continue their hot pursuit of the superstar big man:
Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn
Lakers president Magic Johnson and Pelicans GM Dell Demps have had multiple conversations today, league sources tell ESPN. There's no sense how much progress sides have made progress toward a possible trade, but the Lakers have absolutely gotten more serious in the discussions. https://t.co/R84Aetv9n3
Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times offered the specifics of that proposed deal, which included Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma:
Brad Turner @BA_Turner
Landed in Indy; update on Lakers-Pelicans talks. Magic Johnson, Dell Demps talked twice today, per source. Lakers willing to give Pelicans cap relief for Anthony Davis by taking Solomon Hill for Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Ingram, Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Beasley, 2 1st round picks.
Both Wojnarowski and Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported Davis would consider signing a long-term extension with the Lakers, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks, which perhaps limits his trade market to those teams.
Any other organization that trades for him would run the risk of Davis leaving as a free agent after the 2019-20 season. On the other hand, getting the chance to sell him on a culture, roster and coaching staff for a season-and-a-half might be worth the risk for contenders.
Plus, it's hard to imagine the Clippers, Knicks or Bucks offering an appealing trade package. The Bucks could build a deal around Khris Middleton, but he's due to be a free agent after this season and could sign elsewhere, leaving the Pelicans high and dry. Ditto for Tobias Harris and the Clippers, and it's fair to wonder whether the Clippers have enough appealing assets to get the deal done either way.
While the Knicks could potentially offer the best possible deal over the summer, that's contingent on them winning the NBA draft lottery, thus giving the Pelicans the opportunity to select Zion Williamson. Until the lottery, any deal with the Knicks would not only be a major risk but also illogical, since Davis would improve New York and lessen the likelihood of the Knicks finishing with the best possible lottery odds.
If the Pelicans insist on moving Davis by Thursday's trade deadline, the Lakers can offer the best possible deal (barring a surprise mystery team emerging). The Lakers could build a package around some combination of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Ivica Zubac, Josh Hart and draft picks.
While the Pelicans could potentially get more from the Knicks or the Boston Celtics over the summer—Jayson Tatum would easily trump any of the Lakers' young players, while the Celtics also have a treasure trove of future picks—the Celtics weren't among the teams Davis would reportedly be willing to sign with long term. Other factors could limit what Boston is willing to offer, too.
For instance, let's say Kyrie Irving decides to sign elsewhere as a free agent this summer. Would team president Danny Ainge be willing to give up a player like Tatum without having Irving to pair with Davis? And if not, would the Pelicans be as intrigued by a package built around Jaylen Brown or Gordon Hayward and draft picks?
As such, the Lakers' current deal might be better than the theoretical deals the Celtics or Knicks will offer. The Celtics also may be unwilling to give their full array of assets for a player that does not seem interested in playing for them.
"I would never want my son to play for Boston after what they done to Isaiah Thomas," his father told Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com, referencing the Celtics trading Thomas for Irving ahead of the 2017-18 season after Thomas played through a hip injury the previous postseason following the death of his sister. "No loyalty. Guy gives his heart and soul and they traded him."
"This is just my opinion, not Anthony's," Davis' father added. "I've just seen things over the years with Boston, and there's no loyalty."
If Davis remains in New Orleans heading into the summer, the Celtics may take their chances regardless. But Davis appears intent on exercising his leverage to avoid Boston and facilitate a move to the Lakers.
In turn, the Lakers are trying to put pressure on the Pelicans, hoping they'll be forced to view a decent collection of assets as perhaps the best possible return for Davis.