Despite a new GM that holds the rights to draft Zion Williamson, rumors are that Anthony Davis still wants out of New Orleans.
While the Lakers flirted with the Pelicans (and disaster) last season regarding a proposed deal, Davis still remains with the franchise for the time being. Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report looks at some realistic trade scenarios for Davis, including the Portland Trail Blazers:
How Davis Gets There: Trade centered around SG CJ McCollum, C Jusuf Nurkic, 2019 No. 25 overall pick
How Lillard Gets There: Two years, $61.4 million remaining on contract
Portland has no reason to break up its tremendous backcourt duo, especially after it reached the Western Conference Finals this season.
Unless there’s a chance to pair up draft classmates Damian Lillard (No. 6 overall in 2012) and Anthony Davis (No. 1 overall in 2012), that is.
As much as the Blazers love McCollum, the 27-year-old has yet to make an All-Star team but should be in line for a max contract in 2021. Nurkic is coming off a career year (15.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.4 blocks), but even his presence likely wouldn’t have been enough to get the Blazers past the Golden State Warriors.
For this pairing of Lillard and Davis to happen, Portland already has half the work done. Lillard is under contract for the next two years and is expected to receive an additional four seasons at $191 million, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
So why would Griffin and the Pelicans take this offer over others that offer young talent and draft picks? It all comes down to New Orleans wanting to stay competitive instead of diving into a rebuild.
Jrue Holiday and Zion Williamson are a nice start, but adding McCollum and Nurkic would likely make the Pelicans a playoff team in the West. Putting veteran talent around Williamson would also help ease his transition into the NBA and let him showcase his underrated passing game.
A potential Lillard/Davis pairing has devastating potential, but is it worth losing McCollum and Nurkic in the deal?
Swartz also proposes Davis trades to the Knicks, Celtics, Raptors, and, yes, the Lakers.
Read the entire piece here.