As the NBA trade deadline looms within a week, the Lakers' immediate pursuit of Pelican's all-star forward Anthony Davis is fraught with obstacles – including the fact that executives are still waiting for a conversation [Penguins] General Manager Dell Demps has been in no hurry to engage Lakers' president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka, but Los Angeles is making aggressive commitments to Davis prior to next Thursday's trade deadline, league sources told ESPN, and it's Demps' obligation to listen.
The Lakers and Pelicans have dealt with it on the phone Davis and are expected to speak again next week's trade deadline, league sources told ESPN.
Davis to the Lakers in a deal with a full season left on his contract The objectives of Los Angeles and Davis.
The sluggish response time by Demps is perhaps a message that New Orleans places some responsibility on the Lakers for Davis' trade request. Davis and his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, Davis with LeBron James.
As of now, the Pelicans see no Reason to deliver Davis to the Lakers in a deal with a full-time leave on his contract.
New Orleans officials are prepared to play the long
In New Orleans's first home game since Pelican's star Anthony Davis requested a trade, he was removed from an image
Here's what each team can do on the table in trade talks.
As rumors and reports about Anthony Davis' next move, New Orleans is already preparing for life w ithout its superstar.
Pelicans owner Gayle Benson is enthusiastically carrying the small-market banner, pushing back on any planned superstar union of James and Davis at the NBA's glamor market.
If Davis wants to be a Laker, the Pelicans' mantra so far is simply: Feel free to join LA as a free agent in 2020 and potentially punt on the 2019-20 season – when James wants to turn 35 – to keep the props cap space open.  Demps was in no hurry to connect to the Lakers, but he did not connect with Johnson, league sources said. ESPN's Ramona Shelburne.
From Paul George to Leonard to Davis, the Lakers' front office is growing accustomed to icy receptions from enduring all-star teams
For now, Demps is following the San Antonio Spurs' initial playbook with Kawhi Leonard from a year ago: Accept calls and lists to deal with concepts and offers.
When Spurs GM RC Buford finally called Pelinka after Leonard's springtime trade request, the Lakers were left with an unmistakable impression: Buford and Gregg Popovich would never send Leonard to Los Angeles – no matter what the Lakers offered. The Spurs always denied any absolute "no Lakers" stance, arguing the LA package never captivated them.
After Paul privately told Demps on Friday that he would not sign a contract extension with the pelicans and wanted a trade, Paul publicly
Interested in trading for Davis – including the Boston Celtics – are in full fact-finding mode and ESPN: Davis' plan is to treat any trade destination as a one-year stop – except, of course, the Lakers. Teams are learning that Davis' intention intention is to play the season elsewhere in the Lakers, but move to the Lakers as a free agent in 2020.
With Davis this season, going to the Lakers presents Davis a chance to make something of this 2018-19 season.
The stance of Davis and his camp toward Boston is linked to their view of Kyrie Irving's Future, Sources said. Davis and his camp no longer believe that Irving is a sure bet to re-sign with the Celtics this summer, and that's the primary reason they're on clumping Boston with a similar message to the 28 other teams: Buyer beware on a trade for Davis .
Paul represents James. Davis hired Paul and Klutch Sports, so Davis clearly has signed on to this Lakers endgame strategy.
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Davis is stuck in the pursuit of Davis, with word delivered to New Orleans: Hold on to Davis past the deadline, get into the offseason and we'll give you the best possible return on this generational talent.
Boston remains confident in Irving re-signing, even if the Celtics do not acquire Davis before free agency. Davis wants soothe them all. Boston believes this: Getting Davis probably clinches on Irving commitment.
For now , the Celtics are unconvinced that Davis would be willing to walk out on a championship core with Boston for the Lakers. Boston has done a tremendous amount of research on Davis, especially in the past 18 months, league sources said.
The Pelicans are aware of the Celtics are preparing a massive offer for Davis deadline. Irving, because of an obscure rule that prohibits any team from trading for a second player working under a designated rookie maximum extension. Irving and Davis are both playing under the microscope. Irving can – and almost certainly will – opt out of his contract on July 1.
Davis without Jayson Tatum in the deal. Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier (though Rozier would have to agree to a sign-and-trade, raising thorny cap complications ), its own first-round picks, Sacramento's first-round pick, a Memphis future first-round pick (top-eight protected this season, top-six protected in 2020, and unprotected in 2021) and a lottery-protected LA Clippers first -rounder that converts to a 2022 second-round pick if the Clippers miss the playoffs both this season and next.
Above all, Boston wants to keep Tatum. Going forward with a big three of Irving, Davis and Tatum – and filling in the gaps around you as needed – is probably the ideal scenario. In the Davis trade talks in July,
that's risky, though. If Boston promises that in absolute terms, the Pelicans would expect the Celtics to hold that assurance.
To sign Davis outright in 2020, the Lakers would have to maintain enough cap space for him – which could mean the chance to add a star player this summer. Davis in the summer of 2020. Whatever the case, it's a complicated path to Davis.
What's more, to deal with all of their young assets for Davis now would complicate the Lakers' path to a third star. With only Davis, LeBron and Luol Deng's stretched salary on their books for 2019-20, the Lakers would only have about $ 30.5 million in cap space – not enough for a max free agent.
The Pelicans have yet to engage in substantive conversations with the Lakers prior to this to Thursday's trade deadline. Pelinka can offer an a la carte of the Lakers' young prospects and future draft picks, or offer to use those players and picks to canvass the league to furnish players for those who prefer that in a multiteam trade.
The Pelicans believe The Lakers will offer the same deal in June and July.
Starting last Friday – when Davis made his request for the pelicans – several teams told ESPN Nikola Mirotic and Julius Randle and guard E'Twaun Moore available in trade talks.
New Orleans is.
One direction those talks could take place: […] 13th in the West, 5.5 games out of the playoffs with 30 games remaining.
The unfolding of the Davis situation has delivered a light on the Pelicans' unusual front-office structure, in particular the power of executives from the NFL's New Orleans Saints – including Mickey Loomis, the Pelicans 'executive vice president of basketball operations and Demps' nominal boss. The Pelicans 'environment is steeped in the NFL's top-down power culture, which contributes to a level of defiance in Davis'.
Demps and his basketball operations staff trade negotiations, but Loomis – the Saints' top football executive – wants to have a significant voice in how the Pelicans proceed with the Davis saga. Interestingly, Loomis and Celtics GM Danny Ainge has no personal relationship, but they have a history growing up in Eugene, Oregon.
Besides being a future NBA guard and major league third baseman, Ainge was a star receiver and quarterback with Pac -8 football offers.
Ainge has a history as an ace negotiator, but the Pelicans' future rests on a robust return for Davis. They are desperate to extract maximum value. New orleans can offer Davis a five-year, $ 239 million extension in July and offer that deal again in 2020.
Around the Pelicans, some wonder Davis getting booed and becoming a villain in New Orleans could make him second-guess his Aing pause, the Celtics believe they could convince Davis to stay long term, clinching Irving's future in New England.
Still, there are situations that concern Boston. For instance, the Celtics could be disappointing in the postseason. Tatum: the NBA draft's No. The Knicks could win the draft lottery. Duke's Zion Williamson.
Davis would not be able to do that. [Irving would be unnerve Boston.]
One subplot: Under revised draft lottery rules, the teams with the three worst records want equal opportunity – 14 percent apiece – at securing the no. 1 pick. Four teams – the Knicks, Phoenix Suns, Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers – are in a "race" for those three spots. One wants to be left out and enter the lottery with a 12.5 percent chance at leaping to no. 1. Every percentage point matters.
For now, the leak of certainty surrounding the Knicks' pick is a huge obstacle to New York's dealing now for Davis. On the flip side, New York wants to include Kristaps Porzingis in any Davis trade package once the deadline passes. Porzingis wants to be a restricted free agent this summer and would have to agree to a sign-and-trade – something he'd be reluctant to do, league sources said. In other words: Williamson and Porzingis together.
For now, the Pelicans and Davis are left with an awkward dance. Davis does plan to play for the Pelicans again before the deadline in a week, league sources said. Davis wants to play in the All-Star Game in mid-February, and he'll almost assuredly be selected as a reserve on Thursday. Teammates and coaches can already tell that Davis is trying to make a lot of himself a teammate.
Davis took his pelican's teammates out to dinner on a trip to Houston. His nature is to please and the push to get out of New Orleans is in contrast to his typical sensibilities. He has always been nonconfrontational, eager to fit into the program. Now, Davis is chasing what it believes to be a better organization in a bigger market.
The Pelicans may have spoken to the Lakers, but there is no clear and immediate pathway to a trade. This could be a long, nasty process. Paul is unfazed to make it a brawl, and Ainge is unafraid to make the trade. And, it appears, New Orleans is unafraid to make everyone wait.
This is the new NBA, a superstar's fight for flight.
ESPN's Brian Windhorst contributed to this report.