With the NBA trade deadline now two days away one of the biggest targets in Anthony Davis may be off the market.
After a week of attempting to make a trade for the New Orleans Pelicans franchise player the Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly walking away from talks according to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. According to the report the Lakers cite the asking price of the Pelicans as the reason.
This is another chapter in what is the biggest and most dramatic story of the trade deadline. The saga has consumed the league with even the biggest trade so far this season where Kristaps Porzingis was sent to the Dallas Mavericks having ties to it. The situations has layers that can shake the NBA in many ways.
Since Davis made his trade request public via his agent Rich Paul on January 28 the sentiment around the league has been that his preferred destination being Los Angeles was a move not by him, but by Paul’s long time friend and Lakers forward LeBron James. Every factor in the request from the timing to comments made by Davis’s father can be seen in the prism of Paul trying to make the Lakers the only option for the Pelicans and freezing out the only other team with comparable assets on paper, the Boston Celtics.
Boston can’t trade for Davis this season as long as the team has guard Kyrie Irving on the roster due to both players falling under the NBA’s Derrick Rose rule. The Celtics have to wait until after the end to the season unless the team also trades Irving.
The Pelicans, knowing Boston’s situation, will likely wait to get an offer.
What New Orleans have made clear though is that the Lakers will not be the team that lands Davis. When the team issued a statement about Davis’s request to ESPN it made it a point to mention the league investigate tampering. That was seen as a clear shot across the bow towards Los Angeles, Paul, and James. New Orleans saw the situation as the Lakers, James, and Paul bullying to get what they wanted and the team responded accordingly.
Things can change in the next two days, but the likely bet is that Davis will still be a Pelican after February 7.