Report: Pelicans, Lakers execs talk Davis on phone

NBA.com Global on Feb 01, 2019 05:29 AM
Report: Pelicans, Lakers execs talk Davis on phone
FILE - DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 17: Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans looks on during the game against the Denver Nuggets on November 17, 2017 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBA.com staff report

When news of Anthony Davis' desire for a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans broke earlier this week, the team did not wait long to make its stance on the issue known. Days later, the Pelicans appear to be holding firm to that approach.

The Los Angles Lakers are the team that may have the most interest in the NBA in acquiring Davis. To actually do so, however, may require a longer road than perhaps they expected.

Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe, Pelicans GM Dell Demps had not returned a call from Lakers GM Rob Pelinka. That changed on Thursday (Friday, PHL time), though, as executives from both teams connected on the phone, per Wojnarowski. They are expected to talk again before the Feb. 7 (Feb. 8, PHL time) trade deadline.

The Lakers are thought to be the top suitor for the superstar big man Davis, but the Pelicans are taking their time in any kind of deal -- especially one that might involve the Lakers.

L.A. already has a star on its roster in LeBron James, who also happens to be represented by the same agent as Davis -- Rich Paul. Wojnarowski and Lowe report that the Pelicans are seemingly content to wait out their next move with Davis -- even as the trade deadline looms. Here's more from ESPN's story:

As of now, the Pelicans see no reason to deliver Davis to the Lakers in a deal with a full season left on his contract -- never mind do it on a timeline that benefits mostly the objectives of Los Angeles and Davis.

New Orleans officials are prepared to play the long game on Davis' future, embarking on an uncomfortable, if not combative process that could extend months beyond next Thursday's trade deadline.

...

If Davis wants to be a Laker, the Pelicans' mantra so far is simply: Feel free to join L.A. as a free agent in 2020 and potentially punt on the 2019-20 season -- when James will turn 35 -- to keep the requisite cap space open.

For now, Demps is following the San Antonio Spurs' initial playbook with Kawhi Leonard from a year ago: Accept calls and listen to deal concepts and offers.

Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times reports that Lakers team president Magic Johnson and Demps talked on the phone Tuesday about how to proceed in Davis trade talks. Johnson presented Demps with five different trade scenarios for Davis on Wednesday, Turner reports, and are waiting to hear back from Demps about which ones interest him the most.

One of those scenarios would include Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Ivica Zubac and a No. 1 pick.

The Lakers want to get a deal done and have no plans on trying to outbid the Boston Celtics this summer. The Lakers, at that point, will then pursue other free agents besides Davis, Turner reports.

Just about every other non-Lakers team in the NBA is expected to (or already has) inquired about landing Davis. The Celtics are thought of by many NBA insiders as the team that could contend with the Lakers in trading for Davis. However, Wojnarowski and Lowe report Paul and Davis' camp have warned other teams that trading for Davis may be nothing more than a short-term rental.

Davis can become a free agent in the summer of 2020 and, per ESPN, teams are learning that his plan is to treat any trade destination as a one-year stop -- unless that team is the Lakers.

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