According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the New Orleans Pelicans’ preferences in an Anthony Davis trade are now clear. Unfortunately for the teams in pursuit of Davis, it sounds like Pelicans EVP David Griffin wants more pieces to get it done before draft night than any one team is currently offering.
ESPN Sources: New Orleans EVP of Basketball Operations David Griffin has started to provide Anthony Davis' trade suitors with the framework of the package he's seeking in a deal ---- which is likely to need multiple teams to complete. Story: https://t.co/hKZcySwpsG— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 10, 2019
Wojnarowski explained that the four teams in Los Angeles and New York are the most active right now: the Lakers, Knicks, Clippers and Brooklyn Nets. Also, Woj reminds us in his story to consider how the successful trades of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard in consecutive summers may impact how smaller markets view Davis. So don’t be surprised if a random franchise comes out of nowhere to offer the best package (Denver makes plenty of sense here).
From New Orleans’ point of view, it sounds like the offers currently on the table in simple one-team scenarios just aren’t worthy (in their eyes) of a player of Davis’ caliber. As outlined on ESPN, for example, Griffin could be hoping a team values a Lakers piece more than they do for additional draft capital.
Would Lonzo Ball qualify as a win-now piece for the Suns to pursue via facilitating? Even though it’s been ruled out by Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro, Ball was No. 1 on the Suns’ draft board in 2017 for a reason. Unless the new regime feels the exact opposite on Ball, I believe this type of framework works for all sides.
“According to front offices who’ve engaged in conversations with Griffin, he hasn’t sounded convinced that one team is likely to fulfill his wishes for a Davis deal. To that end, Griffin has been working to find multiteam trade scenarios that could redirect assets for players or picks more preferable to the Pelicans, sources said.
“For example, those sorts of scenarios could include the Lakers helping to find a team that hypothetically values Los Angeles’ young players more than New Orleans does, or New York could flip its two first future first-round picks via Dallas into players the Pelicans prefer. New Orleans seems determined to be creative in constructing a deal to maximize the return on Davis, one of the NBA’s elite talents.”
With that being said, should the Suns get involved now to help New Orleans offload Davis? The reward could easily be someone like Ball or Spencer Dinwiddie. If Phoenix is interested and hoping to capitalize on this scenario, their needs align with what’s available from the Lakers and Nets than the Knicks or Clippers, assuming 2018 No. 11 overall pick Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is not someone the Suns could pry loose.
“Griffin is pursuing a combination of assets that include an All-Star player, a young player with All-Star potential and two first-round picks, league sources said. Those wants are on a sliding scale. For example, the better the player, the softer the requests on the draft picks -- and vice versa.”
New Orleans is understandably asking for a huge price, but who will take the bait? The Clippers have a smart front office, so I don’t think they will pull the trigger unless they beleive Kawhi Leonard is already in the bag. Brooklyn, on the other hand, could be more aggressive because Kyrie Irving signing with the Nets is starting to feel inevitable. Meanwhile, the Knicks and Lakers definitely feel like the most desperate of the bunch.
The Suns should definitely explore this possibility due to the value they could net at a reasonable price. Below, I’ll outline two hypothetical three-way scenarios involving Brooklyn and Los Angeles.
No. 1: Lakers build deal around Ingram, Kuzma, picks
Lakers - Anthony Davis
Pelicans - Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Moritz Wagner, Elie Okobo, No. 4, No. 6, 2021 Lakers 1st
Suns - Lonzo Ball
No. 2: Nets go all-in for AD
Nets - Anthony Davis
Pelicans - Caris LeVert or Jarrett Allen, Joe Harris, Elie Okobo, No. 27, 2020 pick via Bucks, 2021 Nets 1st
Suns - Spencer Dinwiddie
Over the last few years, the return on trades involving disgruntled superstars have always been less than I imagined. Davis has made known his preferred destinations, so there will also be some around the Association who are wary of giving up valuable assets for a possible one-year rental.
If the Lakers were able to swap out Ball to Phoenix for No. 6, they could come to the Pelicans with the best offer. Ingram and Kuzma along with two top picks in the 2019 Draft is a strong option for Griffin and Co. to consider.
Also, I doubt the Nets move forward with the above proposal unless they truly believe that not only Irving is Brooklyn-bound, but also Kevin Durant. However, they could still feel the pairing of Irving and Davis is more sustainable than whoever Durant pairs up with in Madison Square Garden.
Both of these trades give the Suns their starting point guard for next season and beyond. Ball and Dinwiddie are both well-above-average facilitators, but the main difference between the two is shooting and defensive potential. The Nets’ sixth man is a microwave scorer who can hit from all three levels of the floor, while Ball is a horrible shooter who makes up for it with his instinctual on- and off-ball defense.
At the moment, it’s looking unlikely Darius Garland (Lakers or trade) and Jarrett Culver (Cavaliers or trade) will be on the board at No. 6. If that’s the case, a trade should definitely be the first option on the table to pursue for Phoenix.
Right now, with the way the summer is setting up, the Suns could go in any direction and I wouldn’t be surprised. This has all the makings of a historic offseason. The Davis derby is one way the Suns could really be savvy and capitalize on an opportunity to improve a huge need on their roster.
If the Suns helped facilitate an Anthony Davis trade, which point guard would you prefer?
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