Lakers, Celtics Favored for Anthony Davis, Who Seeks Trade

Lakers, Celtics Favored for Anthony Davis, Who Seeks Trade

There’s never a dull moment in the NBA. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski dropped one of his biggest Woj Bombs to date early Monday morning when he reported that five-time All-Star Anthony Davis wants out of New Orleans.

Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, has reportedly informed the Pelicans that his client has no intention of signing an extension in 2019 or re-signing with the team in 2020.

It’s massive news in NBA circles – and potentially NBA betting circles, because just months ago the Pelicans said they had no intention of trading the 25-year-old Davis, who has been named First-Team All-NBA three of the past four seasons.

At this point there’s still no indication that the Pelicans will trade Davis, and it’ll be tough for them to swing a deal before the Feb. 7 trade deadline.

But it’s the NBA, where crazy happens on just about a daily basis. So, there are a few NBA Finals futures odds that need consideration in case a Davis deal goes down before the deadline.

Bookmakers have had odds up on where Davis would play in 2019. Up until Monday, the Pelicans were the top choice. They are now off the board and the Lakers are the new favorites at +125. Second choice is Boston, at +300.

Lakers Appear to Be Frontrunners

Anthony Davis wants to win. The Lakers have LeBron James. OK, so it’s not quite as simple as that, but it’s the starting point.

The two share the same agent in Paul, and any young star looking to win could do worse than teaming up with James: Just ask Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, all of whom have rings on their fingers thanks to him.

It’s highly unlikely a team deals the assets required to trade for Davis unless they’re positive he will sign an extension. That means, to some extent, Davis can navigate where he winds up.

The Lakers have valuable young pieces in Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram that the Pelicans might be interested in as they begin a post-AD rebuild.

The Lakers have incentive to do the deal now, as their season is slipping away with James sidelined due to a groin injury, and the fact that the Celtics will be a potential trade partner this summer (see below). Last month James said that the Lakers acquiring Davis would be “amazing,” so it’s clear what James wants. And he usually gets what he wants.

That’s why it makes sense to hop on the Lakers’ championship odds right now. With James healthy the Lakers were the fourth seed in the West and had just knocked off the Warriors on the road on Christmas Day.

There would be a ton of moving parts to get in order before the postseason, but a LeBron-Davis duo becomes an instant contender. They wouldn’t be favorites, but their odds would shoot up from where they are right now at +2800 at top basketball bookmakers. They’re good value in the off-chance the Lakers pull the trigger on a deal for Davis.

Celtics Could Include Kyrie Irving in Deal

The Celtics want the Pelicans to wait until the summer to deal Davis. That’s because both Davis and Irving signed their current contracts under the Derrick Rose Rule, and NBA teams aren’t permitted to have more than one Rose Rule player on their roster.

Irving can (and will) opt out of his current deal on July 1, when the Celtics could theoretically then negotiate a deal for Davis.

Then again, Danny Ainge has never been afraid to make huge moves. Between signing Al Horford and Gordon Hayward, to trading Isaiah Thomas for Irving last offseason, Ainge will do whatever he can to build a winner.

So, there’s a chance, albeit a small one, that Ainge decides to include Irving in a deal for Davis, with either Irving going to the Pelicans or a third team coming in on the deal.

Again, it’s very unlikely. Irving has been outstanding this season and Terry Rozier, Irving’s backup who would slide into the starting lineup, has been awful.

But swapping Irving for Davis would still improve the Celtics’ championship odds, so hopping on their +800 odds is a good play.

Plus, they’re still title contender as is. Even if they don’t add Davis, they have the most playoff experience and arguably the most talented and deepest roster. Adding Davis would simply be an added bonus to a team that already has title aspirations, having won five of six and nine of 13.

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