Anthony Davis puts pelicans under pressure with trade request

Julian Bombard, Staff Reporter

Daisy Rymer | Sports Layout Editor

The New Orleans Pelicans woke up Monday morning to devastating, yet inevitable news Anthony Davis has officially requested a trade. Though upsetting, this turn of events is not surprising, as Davis has the option to opt out of his contract after next season.

In December, a source close to Davis stated that money will not determine where he signs. While the December rumor did not directly mention the Pelicans, the statement effectively meant that Davis’ choice would not be swayed by a five-year super-max extension, a contract only New Orleans could offer.

With the Feb. 7 trade deadline rapidly approaching, the Pelicans are forced to evaluate trade offers immediately and decide whether they can receive the most value by trading Davis now or by waiting until the offseason. Here are the main teams and factors general manager Dell Demps and the organizations must consider:

* Boston Celtics

The Celtics situation presents a difficult decision for Demps. While Boston has enough prized young assets, such as Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, to make the best offer for Davis, a trade with the Celtics cannot be executed until the offseason due to a Collective Bargaining Agreement rule. Demps could wait until Boston enters the bidding but would then run the risk of Davis stating his intention to sign with the Lakers, lowering his trade value.

* Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers are desperate to acquire Davis before the trade deadline, but even a king’s ransom from Los Angeles would not top what Boston will likely offer. Furthermore, the Pelicans may be hesitant to give Davis to the Lakers, considering the circumstances of request. New Orleans has asked the NBA to investigate tampering in a statement following Davis’s announcement, of which Los Angeles is likely to be the focus. Davis and Lakers superstar LeBron James share the same agent, and in December, James publicly stated his interest in playing with Davis.

*Alternative Options

Other teams, such as the Knicks, Raptors and Sixers, have a slim chance of pulling off a surprise trade. Whenever New Orleans decides to offload Davis, the team’s rebuild will take time. It is almost impossible to receive adequate value for a player as proficient as Davis, and the Pelicans’ best assets will likely be their own draft picks in the next two years.

Regardless of compensation, this is a crushing blow to the Pelicans franchise. Just seven years earlier, Chris Paul made the same request. New Orleans missed the playoffs for three consecutive years following that trade, before Davis led them back to contention. Now, with Davis on the way out, the Pelicans must find a way to appeal to superstar players if they hope to bring a championship to New Orleans.

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