The last couple of summer’s have had elite players on the NBA trade market and each one has had it’s own interesting story. The story and case of New Orleans Pelicans All-Star forward Anthony Davis is one that trumps them all.
So let’s take a look at where we are this point.
How Good Is Anthony Davis?
Can you name any Power Forward or Center in the league right now, who can:
- Give you 25 points, 12 rebounds and 2.5 blocks on a nightly basis.
- At the same time effect the defensive side of the ball as much as the offensive of the ball.
- Can hit the three-pointer on a consistent basis
- That can hit over 80% from the free throw line as big man
- Not to mention has a uni-brow
Only one player and that’s Anthony Davis. He is arguably the best overall talent in the entire league. Every team in the league would give just about any player in the league up to acquire him. If you don’t think so, do you remember this game?
Besides this one game from this season, Davis has been dominate when he’s on the floor. There are plenty of games throughout his 7 year career that can prove that. He’s so good that he’s earned a “SuperMax” contract this summer that will allow him to stay in New Orleans (The only team he has ever played for) for the next 5 seasons and get paid $237 million dollars over that time.
But Why Is Davis Not The Best Overall Player In The League?
Anthony has given an injury prone tag that has followed him throughout his career. But if you look at it, it’s not as bad as you would think.
- His first 4 seasons in the league, Anthony has missed 20 or more games each of those seasons. Only of them (2015-2016 Torn Labrum and Shoulder surgery that ended his season in March) have kept him out of more than 10 consecutive games.
- The next two seasons, Davis only missed 14 games combined and in the 2017-18 season got to the second round of the playoffs.
- This season his only played in 56 games. Now after the trade request to preserve him not getting hurt, he didn’t play in back-to-back games, had his minutes reduced and was shutdown the minute the Pelicans were officially eliminated from the playoffs.
The other reason is his playoff record. Anthony has been to the playoffs twice in his 7 year career and outside of the Pelicans sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1st round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs, his teams have lost 9 of the other 10 games they have played. He’s was outstanding, but he hasn’t carried his team to victory in those moments.
Why Are We Here?
To the last point, the Pelicans have played 13 total playoff games in Davis 7-year career. With a player of Davis caliber, that’s unacceptable. Outside of the 2017-2018 team (that team had DeMarcus Cousins and he missed the majority of the second half of the season and playoffs with an injury), the Pelicans have had one really decent team that Davis was apart of.
Injuries killed the 2015-2016 team, but the rest of the teams haven’t had the right mix of players to help him win games. New Orleans roster moves have been some of the worst in the NBA over the last 7 years.
- New Orleans has had one 1st round pick that started the season on the roster (Buddy Hield). The other pick Nerlens Noel was traded for Jrue Holiday
- Free Agent signings of Soloman Hill, Alexis Ajinca, Omer Asik, E’twaun Moore, Lance Stephenson and Elfrid Payton throughout the years have not been difference makers
- Not resigning Rajon Rondo and DeMarcus Cousins after the 2017-2018 season (They made the playoffs and won a series with them)
With Davis just turning 26 in March, he’s reaching his prime and wants to be in a situation where he can win basketball games and play meaningful games in May and June each year. With the past track history of the front office, you would understand why he’s doesn’t have confidence in them.
So with that being said, his agent Rich Paul went to the Pelicans then general manager Dell Demps and requested a trade. If you want to know about what happened next by clicking on this link and read my thoughts on it. It is the point where, Davis is willing to leave over $80 million dollars on table in an potential address change.
Why Is This Potential Trade So Complicated?
For those keeping score at home…
- You have an agent (Paul) that wants his client in a certain city (Los Angeles) and has said that Davis is not signing an long-term extension and wants to be a free agent
- The owner of the team he plays on (Gayle Benson) not wanting to trade him to Los Angeles (Yes, there has been reports of her not saying it, but what owner in any sport would actually confirm that they would say it) after the fiasco that a former president of basketball operations (Magic Johnson), Davis’ current agent and the Pelicans former general manager (Dell Demps)
At this point you can tell, there is more plot twists than an episode of Game of Thrones. Better yet..
But Wait There Is More…
- His new general manager (David Griffin) trying to make Pelicans a contender and in trade that he makes
- The team that has agent wants him to go to, is not willing to trade a certain player (Kyle Kuzma) in a trade to acquire Davis and has to get a potential 3rd team to help out
- A general manager (Danny Ainge) who has been trying to acquire Davis for the last 3 years and has a potential package that land him, but he’s own big free agent could walking out the door
- One of Davis’s closest friends in the league (Kyrie Irving) being a free agent in July, wanting to play on the same team as Davis and could be leaving the team that was discussed in the previous point
- Other teams (Knicks, Nets and Clippers) interested in a potential trade and have the markets that Davis would be interested in playing in.
Even though it is a lot to process, you now can see how complicated this process has been.
But the one constant in all of this is that Anthony Davis is under contract with the New Orleans Pelicans until July 1st of 2020.
No matter what his agent says, he’s under contract and he has to play. But at the same time, David Griffin’s time is running out. The more days he waits on a trade, the lesser the potential package could be.
So What Should The Pelicans Do?
If I’m a betting man, David Griffin doesn’t make any trade before the NBA Draft. Unless you get exactly what you want from any team, you wait until teams make signings and roster moves. You wait on Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to sign contracts. You wait to see if the Lakers can find another star player to sign to make them have to give as many pieces as possible to trade for Davis.