The Pelicans were the big winners of the NBA Draft Lottery when they secured the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Zion Williamson and his transcendent skills are headed to New Orleans, but it appears that he won’t be joining forces with Anthony Davis once he arrives. Davis, who publicly demanded a trade earlier this year, is a frontrunner for a change of scenery this summer.
The Lakers, Celtics and Knicks have dominated the headlines as potential destinations for Davis. Along with that trio, TrueHoop’s David Thorpe outlined the Trail Blazers’ case as a potential partner for the Pelicans.
Thorpe worked through a list of five players capable of capturing the Pelicans’ attention during negotiations. CJ McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins, Moe Harkless and Anfernee Simons were discussed as assets worthy of a Davis-centered package.
The newsletter goes on to explain that the Blazers would push to keep their stellar backcourt intact. Thorpe then proposed a deal that would ship Nurkic, Collins, Simons and Harkless to New Orleans for Davis and E’Twaun Moore.
Nurkic and Collins would give the Pelicans the size inside to pair with Zion, they each can play with him and they both can. Adding Simons would give them talent to develop alongside him. Although we don’t know when Nurkic will return to the court—one published report speculated October—they would probably be a playoff team next year. And if Simons, Collins, and Zion reach their potential, a healthy Nurkic pushes that foursome into very elite territory.
After discussing the deal from the Pelicans’ perspective, Thorpe explains that adding Davis would push the Blazers into elite territory.
Meanwhile, depending where Durant lands, Lillard, McCollum, and Davis could be the best trio in the NBA. The Blazers team Davis joins would essentially be the one that just beat Denver four times in seven games, minus Collins. Portland would likely try to keep Rodney Hood and then field the team you see now giving the Warriors a competitive series, only with Davis instead of Collins.
Thorpe admits that a potential deal between the Blazers and Pelicans would face two major hurdles. Would New Orleans settle for a deal that didn’t include McCollum? For Portland, would Neil Olshey gamble on sending out assets for a player headed toward free agency?
You can read Thorpe’s full article by subscribing to TrueHoop.