Anthony Davis isn’t going anywhere, not right now, anyway
Nothing’s more fun to speculate on then what’s next.
We speculate on where Gordon Hayward will sign, but as soon as he does, we move on to wondering about a Kyrie Irving trade. As soon as that’s approved, we start to wonder if the Cavs will/should flip their new draft pick. We’re always looking one step ahead.
But to me, the idea that Anthony Davis may be a realistic trade option in the future is going a step too far. It’s. Not. Going. To. Happen.
The Pelicans would be fools to consider it, under almost any circumstance. Anthony Davis is a top 10 player in the league (at least) and a top 5 trade chip (at least). He’s also under contract for the next THREE seasons, with a player option the following year. There’s no package around that can amount to that return that sort of value, no matter how many picks and young players you bundle together.
Furthermore, the Pelicans have a few more shoes to drop (aka scapegoats) before they panic and deal Anthony Davis.
The first: DeMarcus Cousins. The team made a bold gambit to acquire the big man last season. It didn’t work right out of the gates, but there’s a chance that the pairing could lead to big gains this year. If not, Cousins will likely be traded again mid-season, or at the very least, not return when he’s slated to hit free agency this summer. The team will try the Twin Towers approach. If it doesn’t work, they can remake their team again.
The second/third: coach Alvin Gentry and GM Dell Demps. Both of the Pelicans’ leaders are skating on thin ice right now. If the team struggles, they’ll most likely be let go in one foul swoop. From there, a new GM and a new coach will come in and try to straighten out this ship. The Pelicans should absolutely allow a new coach to try his hand at rebuilding around Anthony Davis before they even consider the notion of dealing him. That adds at least another year to the timeline.
Those factors — the long-term deal, and the other scapegoats — combine to suggest that Anthony Davis won’t be going anywhere, anytime soon. In fact, the earliest I can foresee a doomsday scenario would be summer 2019. At that point, Davis will have one more year on his deal (plus an option year) and may demand a trade. If the team truly feels like he’s gone, then they can actually consider trading him.
But until then — literally two years from now — it’s not worth speculating about.