The latest report from Yahoo! Sports has LeBron James and former Kentucky Wildcats All-American Anthony Davis meeting for dinner after the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night in LA.
Davis has been rumored to be a trade target of many NBA teams and the Lakers, now with LeBron James, seem to be a favorite to land The Brow.
Davis was drafted by the New Orleans Hornets, now the Pelicans, following his freshman season at UK where he led the Wildcats to their eighth National Championship and the first for head coach John Calipari. Since his arrival in the NBA, Davis has been a force. This season, even though his Pelicans are 15-18, Davis is getting a lot of love a potential MVP.
Rightfully so. Davis is averaging 28.1 points, 12.6 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game to go along with 2.7 blocks and 1.7 steals per game on the defensive side of the ball. Davis ranks in the Top 10 of the NBA in blocks (79), rebounds (365) and points (814). He’s first in the NBA in minutes per game and third in points per game.
It’s no wonder that the LeBron and the Lakers want AD to come to Hollywood. LeBron needs a running mate to be successful, we’ve seen that countless times in his career. Anthony Davis could be a very nice complement to LeBron.
Winning has been Davis’ biggest shortcoming since being drafted first overall in the 2012 NBA Draft. Davis has yet to taste much success at all in the postseason aside from winning a playoff series last year against the Portland Trail Blazers. The Pelicans lost DeMarcus Cousins in free agency this offseason and are currently 2.5 games out of the playoff hunt in the stacked Western Conference.
Davis has recently come out and said that legacy, not money is what drives him. Okay, I believe that to a certain extent, but the money sure is nice. Davis is up for a Designated Player Veteran Extension this summer.
In short, the New Orleans Pelicans can offer him a five-year/$240-million contract. That’s $41.3 million the first year of the deal and eight percent increases every year after that, bringing his 2023-24 salary to $54.5 million.
Unless Davis is traded this year, he’s likely to turn down his $28.5 million option with the Pelicans, making him a free agent in the summer of 2020. If he’s traded after this season, the most his new team could offer would be a 5-year/ $205-million contract. Now, if he were to sign with a team after his contract expires, the most he could garner is 4-year deal worth an estimated $152 million.
To put all of this into perspective, if he is intent on playing in Los Angeles, unless Davis forces the Pelicans front office to make a trade with the Lakers this year before the February trade deadline, he’ll miss out on at least $35 million. Then, should he not be traded during the following NBA season and goes into free agency, he’ll miss out on approximately $88 million.
There are essentially three teams in the mix for Davis’ services, and that’s the Pelicans, the Lakers, and the Boston Celtics. Even though the Lakers have been stockpiling assets (Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram) over the last couple of years, if a trade were to be consummated, the Celtics have more talented players and better draft picks to send New Orleans’ way.
If I’m the Pels, I’m taking Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Terry Rozier all day, every day before I accept what the Lakers have to offer. Plus, the Celtics own protected first-round draft picks from the Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers in 2019 and the Sacramento Kings’ first-round pick in next year’s draft.
However, due to a weird rule in the collective bargaining agreement concerting the deisgnated rookie exception. Because of Kyrie Irving’s current contract, the C’s can’t make a trade for Davis until Irving’s deal expires at the end of this season. So, if the Lakers really want to go get AD, they better make their push now.