Anthony Davis Rumors: Latest on Knicks, Celtics, More Talks Before Lakers Trade

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 17, 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

Superstar Anthony Davis was reportedly traded to the Los Angeles Lakers over the weekend, a huge move in what promises to be a summer full of them.

But the New Orleans Pelicans had discussions with other teams, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, including the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers and even the Houston Rockets.

According to that report, however, "it became apparent to Davis' trade suitors that New Orleans had leaned toward the Lakers' package," and the offers from other organizations became "tempered."

What were teams reportedly offering?

The Knicks, according to Charania, "discussed several assets in a potential offer—featuring Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith and the No. 3 overall pick and other draft compensation, league sources said—but never fully offered young forward Kevin Knox and prized center Mitchell Robinson, both of whom the franchise is very high on while the Pelicans were not believed to be."

The Celtics, meanwhile, "were open to discussing Jayson Tatum and the future Memphis first-round pick but not in the same offer, sources said. Celtics president Danny Ainge will always swing for a tantalizing talent, but even he had to balance the risk and reward considering the uncertain future of his free-agent star, Kyrie Irving."

Talks with the Nets "never went far, as New Orleans never truly liked the assets available," while the Rockets built offers "around Clint Capela and three-team formations."

Several factors contributed to the Lakers and Pelicans' successful deal. For one, Davis and his agent, Rich Paul, made it known that the superstar forward wanted to go to either the Lakers and Knicks. That upped the risk for teams like the Celtics to make truly competitive offers since they faced the prospect of losing Anthony in a year come free agency.

For another, the Lakers not only had the young players and draft assets to make a deal palatable for New Orleans; they also had the desperation of needing to add a star next to LeBron James, with no guarantee they could have done so in free agency.

While Davis gave the Lakers an advantage in talks that other teams didn't have, causing them to keep their best offers off the table, the Pelicans were able to leverage Los Angeles' absolute need to add a star into a strong return.

The Lakers sent Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart to New Orleans, along with a collection of draft assets, per ESPN.com's Tim Bontemps: the 2019 No. 4 overall pick, a 2021 first-round pick that belongs to the Pelicans if it lands in the top eight and becomes unprotected in 2022 if it doesn't convey, the right to swap picks in 2023 without protections, and the choice of another unprotected first-rounder in either 2024 or 2025.

From the sound of it, no other team was willing to come close to that type of haul. Now, Davis is a Laker, the Lakers are a far more attractive destination for potential free agents in a quest to add a third star, and the Pelicans have a treasure chest of young players and draft assets to build around presumptive top overall pick Zion Williamson.

It was a win-win situation for the Lakers and Pelicans, even if teams like the Knicks, Celtics, Rockets and Clippers lost out.