February 7th, also known as the best day of the NBA year, is only a few days away. This date is of course the NBA trade deadline.
Every year, deals are finalized up until the very last second of the 3PM cutoff time. NBA trade deadline day is very telling, as you see who the buyers and sellers are. We see which teams are making moves to try to win a championship and which teams are directing their attention towards the draft. This year, all the attention is centered around Anthony Davis, the all-star forward for the New Orleans Pelicans who requested a trade via his agent Rich Paul. Before you read on, I suggest you read my previous article about Davis to get familiarized with his contract and some potential landing spots.
Since Davis’ trade request, the three words attached to his name were “Los Angeles Lakers.” The reason that is the case is due to a combination of the following: LeBron saying in December he would like to play with Davis, LeBron and Davis having dinner together after New Orleans’ game in LA, and the most obvious and important reason, Davis is represented by Rich Paul. He also happens to represent LeBron and conveniently is LeBron’s best friend. So why don’t we just put a purple and gold jersey on Davis now and stop the impending drama over the next few days? Let me tell you why.
NBA Trade Deadline: Where will Anthony Davis end up?
As I said in my previous article, the only shot, I believe, the Lakers have to sign Anthony Davis is if it occurs before February 7th. After that, I would bet my money on Davis being traded to the Celtics this summer. Since my previous article, there have been two key developments that throw a big wrench in this Lakers-Celtics debate. The first is Kyrie Irving’s recently renewed interest in playing with LeBron again. The other being this extremely intriguing desire for a few capable team’s in the NBA to attempt a one year rental of Anthony Davis in order to try to win a championship this season. I will break each of these down in more detail in the following paragraphs.
So everyone saw LeBron’s IG story where he was singing Fetty Wap’s song Rewind while tagging Kyrie right? Well, for those who didn’t see it or those who did not understand that sentence, all you need to know are the lyrics LeBron sang: “I know you’re with him now, but soon you will be mine, If I could bring it back, I’ll probably press rewind.” TAMPERING! Tampering, tampering, tampering! Do you think Adam Silver will hear me if I climb to the top of Mount Everest and broadcast it on all radio stations?
It’s remarkable that coach’s get fined for even mentioning a player’s name. Many coaches nowadays even hold off on complimenting an opposing player with the fear of a possible tampering charge. Yet LeBron, the most powerful figure in all of sports today, and possibly ever, can publicly recruit Anthony Davis and Kyrie Irving with no repercussions. Radio silence. Well, it appears that multiple sources have confirmed Kyrie is interested in a potential ‘rewind’ with LeBron, even after he made that touching commercial with his dad about how he wants his #11 jersey to hang in the rafters at TD Garden.
The world would truly come full circle if Irving and LeBron reunited. But wait, how would that work with Kyrie thinking the world is flat? The interesting development here is that Kyrie and his designated contract are the exact reason the Celtics cannot trade for Davis until the offseason. Does anyone think that due to this new Kyrie report, Danny Ainge is now in talks with the Pelicans discussing a trade that would INCLUDE Kyrie for Davis? Seriously, the man traded Isaiah Thomas the summer after Thomas played through the heartbreaking loss of his sister and carried the Celtics through the postseason. So yeah, I think Ainge is absolutely having these conversations.
Davis a one year rental?
Now to my favorite part of this story, the one year rental for a run at an NBA title. Whereas many are comparing the possibility of a one year rental to that of Paul George a few years ago, I see it differently. There is no way Davis goes to a team outside of Boston or LA and falls in love and decides to sign a long-term contract. So the only play here is to trade a bunch of assets for Davis right now, play with him for hopefully five months, then trade him to LA or Boston this summer and get a bunch of assets back similar to the ones initially traded.
Which teams have the borderline championship potential and are in a position to pull off this kind of deal? I can think of three teams: the Portland Trail Blazers, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Toronto Raptors. The addition of Davis to Milwaukee or Toronto all but guarantees them an NBA Finals birth coming from the Eastern Conference. Stop reading for a minute and imagine Giannis and Davis on the floor at the same time. Really think about it. If you are a fan of any of the 29 other teams in the NBA, you should be scared. That duo would wreak havoc on the league and be unstoppable against any frontcourt.
In Toronto, Davis would be paired with Kawhi Leonard. The Raptors would have two of the top five players in the league on the floor at once. The risk for the Raptors here is that both Kawhi and Davis would most likely leave this offseason. Then Toronto would probably be in a full rebuild mode. It would be an all or nothing mindset for Toronto and a risk I’m not sure they should take. The Trail Blazers would immediately become a threat to the Warriors in the Western Conference and give Dame Dolla a much-needed star big man to replace the void left by LaMarcus Aldridge a few years earlier. It would seem that Portland would have to part ways with CJ McCollum, which obviously could cause some chemistry issues, but could be worth if the Trail Blazers are still playing come June.
Where will Davis land?
Obviously the only question left is, what team will Anthony Davis be a member of come February 8th? The feeling I have is that Davis will be a Los Angeles Laker. The obliteration of small market franchises will continue in the NBA. Although, maybe this makes up for the vetoed trade of Chris Paul from New Orleans to Los Angeles in 2011. I would have given my left pinky toe to see Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul play together, but I digress. The smart play would be for New Orleans to hold on to Davis through the end of this season, because the Lakers’ trade deadline offer will absolutely still be available to the Pelicans come summer. And why not start a bidding war between the Magic Johnson and Danny Ainge to get an even better trade offer? I mean, to me it is a no brainer (#Bieber) the Pelicans should force Magic Johnson’s hand and reject any offer at the trade deadline. Whatever the outcome, enjoy the fun over the next few days. Come February 8th, the rosters are set for the race towards the Larry O’Brien trophy.