Anthony Davis Rumors: Lakers, Knicks Are 'Desired Long-Term' Trade Destinations

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJune 10, 2019

New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) wears a T-shirt with 'That's All, Folks,' printed on it during player introduction before an NBA basketball game between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Golden State Warriors in New Orleans, Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Scott Threlkeld)
Scott Threlkeld/Associated Press

New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis is reportedly eyeing two major markets as rumors about his future swirl.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Davis sees the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks as his "two desired long-term destinations" with the offseason approaching. The Kentucky product has a player option for the 2020-21 season and can become a free agent following the upcoming 2019-20 campaign, putting the onus on the Pelicans to trade him if they want to avoid losing him without a return package.

Charania noted the Knicks and Lakers are among a group of teams that includes the Los Angeles Clippers, Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics that have expressed interest in the six-time All-Star.

The report pointed to the Knicks in particular as a team that is "motivated to pursue Davis sooner rather than later" because they can use the chance to play alongside him in their free-agency pitches to playmakers such as Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving.

Los Angeles—which is no stranger to Davis talks after being connected to him before the February trade deadline—already has LeBron James in place if it is looking to pitch free agents on playing next to one of the league's premier players.

As for the interested Clippers, Nets and Celtics, the suggestion Davis is more interested in remaining with either the Lakers or Knicks long term presents a predicament. They can still trade their young, valuable assets for the three-time All-NBA selection and make a run at a title or deep playoff push next season, but they would also risk seeing him leave after just one year.

There is a recent blueprint for success with that route, as the Oklahoma City Thunder took that chance when trading for Paul George and were able to convince him to re-sign. What's more, the Toronto Raptors did the same with Leonard and are now one win away from winning the championship.

Charania's piece comes after Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com reported Pelicans president of basketball operations David Griffin has "started to provide potential suitors with the framework of the package he is seeking in a trade."

Griffin is reportedly open to multiteam deals and is looking for a combination of an All-Star player, young potential All-Star and two first-round picks. However, Wojnarowski noted those assets are viewed on a "sliding scale" and could be lessened for a better player.

The Pelicans are looking to add any assets they land in a Davis trade to a core that features Jrue Holiday and presumed No. 1 pick Zion Williamson in their rebuilding efforts.

The request for an All-Star may be steep because teams trading for Davis will be looking to compete for a championship in the immediate future. Moving a current All-Star would undercut those efforts regardless of the young assets they may give up.

What's more, only James was a 2019 All-Star among the Lakers and Knicks rosters, and Los Angeles surely isn't going to trade the King in a Davis move if the idea is to pair the two Klutch Sports Group clients and pursue a title next season.

Davis' future figures to be a primary storyline of the upcoming offseason, and Wojnarowski noted Griffin prefers the deal to be done before the 2019 NBA draft on June 20.

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