The New Orleans Pelicans clearly weren't thrilled with the way the Los Angeles Lakers handled Anthony Davis trade discussions in February and reportedly won't consider trading the big man to the Purple and Gold during the coming offseason.
"I have been told that there's no way Anthony Davis is coming here, through the Pelicans," Marc J. Spears said while appearing on ESPN in Los Angeles (h/t Dan Feldman of NBC Sports). "They're just not going to do it."
Feldman noted ESPN's Michael Wilbon said he heard the same news.
Discussions between the Lakers and Pelicans dominated headlines leading up to the trade deadline, and things seemed to take a contentious turn at times.
It was Davis' agent, Rich Paul, who first made it public knowledge the big man did not want to remain in New Orleans long term, and it was not lost on NBA fans that Paul is also LeBron James' agent. The Pelicans' subsequent statement said, in part, they "requested the league to strictly enforce the tampering rules associated with this transaction."
A Pelicans' source told Shams Charania of The Athletic the Lakers leaked Davis offers and discussions to the media, while ESPN's Brian Windhorst said New Orleans shut down offers from the Lakers as payback for perceived tampering:
Rachel Nichols @Rachel__Nichols
So I asked @WindhorstESPN if the Pels ever intended to seriously engage with LA on Anthony Davis, or if all the talks & leaks were instead designed to sabotage the young Lakers as revenge for what N.O. sees as tampering, & he said "it's not just possible, it's what happened." 👀 https://t.co/wki2hDPaEs
The rebuilding Pelicans may not like the way things were handled, but shutting Los Angeles out of trade talks during the upcoming offseason doesn't serve them well. Even if they don't accept a Lakers' offer, they can use it to drive up the price with other bidders, such as the Boston Celtics.
Los Angeles also offered a number of talented young pieces who could help in a rebuild:
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.
New Orleans' decision to wait until the summer means the Celtics can become involved even though they were unable to in February because Kyrie Irving and Davis are both under the designated rookie extension provision. The 2019 draft order will also be known, so whichever team has the No. 1 pick and chance to select Zion Williamson could offer it to the Pelicans.
The Pelicans will have more suitors by waiting until the offseason, but removing the Lakers from talks would take away one of them. Even with the pettiness, that won't be in the team's best interest.