With the 2018-19 NBA trade deadline approaching on Feb. 7, the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans have been in discussions about Anthony Davis.
As president of basketball operations Magic Johnson reportedly offered five different scenarios, the Lakers eventually met general manager Dell Demps’ demands of an additional first round draft pick and salary cap relief.
When it appeared the Lakers and Pelicans were making good progress, the latter reportedly wanted the former to ‘overwhelm’ them with 4-6 draft picks.
Due to ‘outrageous’ demands by the Pelicans, the Lakers have withdrawn from further discussions for now, according to Broderick Turner of Los Angeles Times:
The Lakers have pulled out of conversations aimed at trying to acquire New Orleans all-star Anthony Davis because of the Pelicans’ “outrageous” trade requests, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
Magic Johnson, the Lakers’ president of basketball operations, told New Orleans general manager Dell Demps on Tuesday morning that the Lakers had made their best offer, were not willing to add anything else and would be moving on, said the person, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
Unlike the Paul George and Kawhi Leonard situations, Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka made their godfather offer to the Pelicans. Considering what the Lakers were willing to trade for Davis, it appears the Pelicans were never serious and will wait for the 2019 NBA Draft and free agency.
While the Boston Celtics reportedly have the assets the Pelicans want come July 1, Kyrie Irving‘s uncertain future will likely impact their actual offer. If Irving backtracks from re-signing with them, it is difficult to see the Celtics risking Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown for a one-year rental.
As the Lakers are still willing to engage with the Pelicans if they counteroffer, the focus should be shifted to trading for three-point shooters. LeBron James and the young core would benefit greatly from more spacing on the court if they want to make a deep playoff run in Year 1 together.