Gayle Benson Denies Saying 'Over My Dead Body' About Anthony Davis, Lakers Trade

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2019

New Orleans Pelicans' Anthony Davis walks on the court during an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas, Monday, March 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

New Orleans Pelicans owner Gayle Benson on Friday refuted a report that she will not allow Anthony Davis to be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.

ESPN's Jackie MacMullan (h/t Dan Feldman of NBC Sports via Yahoo Sports) recently reported Benson essentially told the Pelicans front office that a Davis-to-Lakers deal would occur "over my dead body."

Per WDSU's Fletcher Mackel, Benson "laughed at the report and called it 'totally absurd' and 'completely untrue.'"

Davis announced during the regular season that he would not re-sign with the Pelicans, and the Lakers quickly emerged as a candidate to trade for him since Davis changed his representation to Rich Paul, who is also the agent for Lakers superstar LeBron James.

In January, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported (via The Big Lead) the Pelicans had "no interest" in trading Davis to the Lakers.

Wojnarowski later reported L.A.'s offers—including one of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley and a first-round pick—were "underwhelming."

The Lakers boast a strong group of assets that includes promising young players in Ball, Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart, and they also possess the fourth pick in the 2019 draft.

Wojnarowski's reports suggested there may have been some bias against the Lakers within the Pelicans organization, but a significant shake-up has occurred.

Dell Demps was removed from his post as general manager, and former Cleveland Cavaliers GM David Griffin was hired as New Orleans' executive vice president of basketball operations. Griffin built the Cavs team that, led by James, won the NBA championship in 2015-16.

It is not a foregone conclusion that New Orleans will trade Davis, especially after it won the lottery Tuesday to receive the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft. That will give the Pelicans the chance to select Duke superstar Zion Williamson.

Griffin told SNY's Ian Begley this week he feels "very strongly" that Davis "will be attracted to what we can build."

Mackel, however, reported Griffin has not changed Davis' mind.

If Davis again makes it clear he has no intention to re-sign, then the Pelicans will have little choice other than to trade him this offseason. And since the Lakers need a superstar to play alongside James, there is a good chance they will provide a compelling offer.

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