Knicks Rumors: NY Wasn't 'Close' to Trading for Anthony Davis Before Lakers Deal

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 16, 2019

New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 23, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Howard Simmons)
Howard Simmons/Associated Press

Prior to the New Orleans Pelicans trading Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday, the New York Knicks reportedly "weren't close" to landing the All-Star big man.

According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks did not put together the type of package needed to entice the Pels into sending them Davis.

Instead, New Orleans traded Davis to L.A. for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round picks, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Knicks had been linked to Davis recently, and Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the Lakers and Knicks were the two teams Davis would be willing to sign a long-term deal with.

Even so, New York seemed like a long shot given its lack of desirable assets in comparison to teams like the Lakers and Boston Celtics.

Per Berman, the Knicks were willing to offer the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft and at least one of the first-round picks they got from the Dallas Mavericks as part of the Kristaps Porzingis trade. They were also offering some combination of Kevin Knox, Dennis Smith Jr., Mitchell Robinson and Frank Ntilikina.

The Pelicans did not view any of those players as having a "potential top-15 future," however.

Perhaps the best asset New York had to offer was the third pick, which is expected to land the Knicks Duke forward RJ Barrett. Although Barrett isn't as celebrated as Duke teammate Zion Williamson, who is expected to go first overall to New Orleans, he did lead the Blue Devils in scoring with 22.6 points per game.

With Davis off the table, the Knicks are now free to shift their focus elsewhere. The free-agent market should be especially fruitful with Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, Kemba Walker, Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic being among those who can hit the open market.

KD has been viewed as New York's top target all along, but he may miss the entire 2019-20 season after tearing his Achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Thompson could also be out for the season after tearing his ACL in the following game.

SNY.tv's Ian Begley reported this week that the Knicks "plan to aggressively pursue" Leonard after he was named NBA Finals MVP for the second time in his career.

Signing Leonard may represent New York's best chance to make a splash this offseason since Durant's circumstances are uncertain and Irving is believed to favor the Brooklyn Nets in free agency, per Begley.

Things don't seem to be breaking New York's way thus far from the draft lottery to Durant's injury to the Davis trade, which means it is becoming more and more possible that the Knicks' best chance to exit the Eastern Conference basement in the coming years is to sign Durant and wait a year for him to return.

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