The New Orleans Pelicans would be crazy to move Anthony Davis before the trade deadline

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It would be foolish for the New Orleans Pelicans to rush an Anthony Davis trade. | Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire

Anthony Davis has made his feelings known: he wants out of New Orleans.

And it’s hard to blame him.

Since being drafted by the by the Pelicans out of Kentucky in 2012, ‘The Brow’ has evolved into one of the game’s best players.

He’s averaged 24.0 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 2.4 blocks per game. He’s a six-time All-Star and has made three All-NBA teams.

While his stats are Hall of Fame worthy, can you guess how many times he’s been to the postseason?

The answer is: Twice.

Two times in six years. And in actuality, it will be two times in seven years if NOLA continues on its current trajectory this season.

AD is focused on his legacy, and the Pelicans have wasted countless opportunities to help him leave one. When push comes to shove, not even $239.5 million can salvage this relationship.

At this point, it’s not a question of ‘if’ New Orleans trades Davis, but rather a question of ‘when.’ And I have one piece of advice with respect to that: wait.

It’s no coincidence that AD’s demand for a trade came out when it did. This strategic move orchestrated by Davis’ agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, was done with one goal in mind: to get his client to his desired location — Los Angeles.

LeBron James has made no secret of his desire to play with Davis. Both superstars are repped by Paul. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to connect the dots.

But there’s more at stake than just getting ‘AD’ in the purple and gold.

This is about preventing the Boston Celtics from getting in the game and wrecking this Hollywood ending.

The Celtics have the biggest war chest. They have first and second-round picks galore and young stars, including a future All-NBA talent in Jayson Tatum at their disposal.

Boston wants AD; they’ve wanted him for years. And they have the means to get him. Just not at this moment if the intention is to team him up with Kyrie Irving for the foreseeable future.

NBA teams are not allowed to trade for multiple players on designated-rookie contracts, which both Irving and Davis are currently on. Unless the Celtics are willing to ship Irving to New Orleans (unlikely), they’ll need to wait until the summer to make a deal — something they’re willing to do regardless of whether Irving commits to the organization long term.

None of this is new to the Pelicans. It’s likely why the front office is reluctant to part with AD so soon.

Of course, if there’s one team that can’t afford to wait it’s the Lakers.

Just when it looked like the Lakers were dragging their feet with half-assed offers, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Paul provided the Pels with a list of teams Davis would be open to signing extensions with.

Although the Lakers are the only team capable of making a move at present, this likely tipped and/or forced their hand.

And Magic Johnson responded in kind with a more reasonable offer, per Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times, of Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley, Lance Stephenson, two first-round picks, and cap relief in the form of taking on Solomon Hill’s contract.

The Pelicans, unsurprisingly, have a massive asking price for Davis.

If a team like the Lakers (or a small-market club that’s comfortable with the idea of a one-year rental) meets it, AD will be gone by the deadline.

Then again, New Orleans and General Manager Dell Demps could go ‘HAM’ on the rest of the NBA and do something I didn’t think they had the guts to do: ask for more.

According to the latest from Woj, the Pelicans want the Lakers to “overwhelm them with a historic haul of picks.”

And you know what? I don’t hate it.

Make the Lakers back the truck up; make them present you with a ‘Godfather’ offer.

If they want AD so badly, they’ll do it. They want no part in going head-to-head this summer with a Boston organization that has assets for days (even if neither AD nor his dad want him in Boston).

Eventually, New Orleans will have to deal Davis. He’s not going to sign the super-max, and you can’t lose a player of his caliber for nothing. But that doesn’t mean they should be in a hurry to flip him.

That might be what the Lakers want. It might be what Rich Paul and Klutch Sports want. Hell, it might even be what Davis himself wants.

In the end, none of that should matter to Pelicans. They have to do what’s best for them. Which is why they should be in no rush to do anything.

Statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.

Follow Jason on Twitter: @JasonAlsher.
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Posted in: NBA