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NBA Trade Deadline Primer: Anthony Davis Edition

Could a former Wildcat be on the move this week?

NBA: Denver Nuggets at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

There’s nothing quite like the year-round buzz generated by the National Basketball Association. Last week was advertised as Super Bowl week in Atlanta, a five-day period of which is usually the most talked about throughout the calendar year.

However, the National Football League took a back seat to The Association for nearly every segment.

New Orleans Pelicans star (former Kentucky Wildcat) Anthony Davis demanded a trade from the Pelicans after acknowledging he would not re-sign with the team.

Kristaps Porzingis, the 7’3 star of the New York Knicks, met with Knickerbocker brass to express his disgruntlement with the team’s perspective on future moves. Less than an hour later, Porzingis found himself on the roster of the Dallas Mavericks.

Needless to say, this week will likely be even crazier. Rumors continue to swirl around where Davis will land, and if he will be dealt before Thursday’s trade deadline at 3 pm EST. In spite of such a profound week of the NBA season, here are a few scenarios that you should be prepared to see.

Davis to Los Angeles

Lakers Receive: Anthony Davis
Pelicans Receive: Brandon Ingram, Ivica Zubac, Kyle Kuzma, Lance Stephenson, Lonzo Ball and a first round pick

Collusion or no collusion, the Lakers seem to be the destination Davis prefers. His agent, Rich Paul, has made efforts to inform other teams that Davis would more than likely be a rental for their ball club. While some teams may be unaffected by that message, others may choose to go another route and simply pursue other players/paths.

Lonzo Ball has his off-court drama and Brandon Ingram still looks like he has the mass of an adolescent. Kyle Kuzma has shown promise, but how high is his ceiling? Can he be the alpha-male of a playoff team? The deal’s potential is certainly high but also comes with its abundance of questions.

The Pelicans couldn’t live with themselves if they waited until the summer and returned less value. New Orleans will hear their phone ring countless times this week and this could be a deal that the organization sides with.

Davis to The Garden

Knicks Receive: Anthony Davis
Pelicans Receive: Enes Kanter, Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox and two first round picks

After last week’s blockbuster that sent Porzingis to Dallas, the Knicks look to be all-in on 2019 free agency. Landing Davis would look appetizing for players heading into free agency and would come at the lesser-expense of unproven draft selections/future draft selections as well as an expiring contract.

The hidden gem in this offer is New York’s draft picks. The Knicks have often whiffed in free agency, so what’s to say that won’t happen again this season? New Orleans hasn't posted a great record with Davis and New York’s roster is far worse.

This year, the Knicks are expected to have one of the more favorable slots to land the draft’s top pick. A mishap in this summer’s free agency and that could once again be the case for next summer.

Knox and Ntilikina are the icing on the cake, as well is offloading Kanter after the season to create more than $30 million in cap space. Pelicans general manager Del Demps is clearly bitter with Rich Paul and likely knows New York has a chance of retaining Davis. What better scenario than trading Davis out of conference for what could wind up being the best return?

Davis to Boston

Celtics Receive: Anthony Davis
Pelicans receive: Jaylen Brown, Kyrie Irving and three first round picks

This is where things have already gotten weird and could become even weirder. The NBA’s “Rose Rule” is the only barrier standing between Boston and New Orleans from striking a deal on Davis. So, why not work their way around that and swap the two players binding the rule?

Kyrie Irving went public last week saying he doesn’t owe anyone “sh*t.” This comes just months after announcing to Celtics brass and season ticket holders that he’d resign this summer. Along with believing the world is flat, Irving has been rather unpredictable throughout his career.

Celtics general manager traded away Paul Pierce, a player who is highly regarded as the third-greatest Celtic of all time. What’s keeping him from send Irving off less than two years after acquiring him from Cleveland? Likely not much.

Point guard duties for Boston could be handed to the duo of Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier while Jaylen Brown suddenly becomes the odd-man out. Brown flashed during last season’s playoff run that he’s superior to anyone in the Lakers’ or Knicks’ packages. And who knows, maybe Irving will decide he likes the city of New Orleans?

Regardless, the three first round picks are via teams that should wind up in the lottery and could instantly jumpstart a reboot for the team. New Orleans would probably prefer Celtics’ sophomore Jayson Tatum, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see them accept Brown either.

Other teams, such as Denver and Toronto, have expressed mild interest as “surprise” suitors for Davis. However, unless they’re willing to irrationally go all-in for Davis, their packages don’t quite measure up to the former three.

While all of the noise is entertaining, it’s most-likely that Davis has to wait until the offseason for his team to deal him away.