The New Orleans Pelicans made a trade on Wednesday night, fewer than 24 hours before the 3 p.m. Thursday NBA trade deadline. No, it wasn’t that one.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 7, 2019
“That one,” of course, refers to Anthony Davis. Ten days after the towering Brow announced through his agent he wanted out of New Orleans — an agent he famously shares with LeBron James — Davis appears no closer to getting his wish. If anything, he reportedly seems content to play out the next year and a half of his contract and hit free agency in the summer of 2020.
(That report, from Marc Stein of the New York Times, also reiterates that Davis “maintains he will not re-sign to a long-term deal with the Boston Celtics if the Celtics trade for him in July.”)
Those rumors of back-room deals? That there was a handshake agreement in place to get Davis teamed with James in Hollywood? Seems like the Pelicans were none too happy about them, and reacted in an entirely new way.
By clapping back.
Speaking on ESPN’s “The Jump” on Wednesday afternoon, NBA reporter and long-time LeBron whisperer Brian Windhorst called the battle between the Pelicans and Lakers — among others — an “information war” unlike any he’s seen in 16 years covering the league. Responding to a speculative question from Rachel Nichols about whether New Orleans, which believes LeBron and agent Rich Paul have tampered with Davis, has put out numerous false trade proposals from the Lakers with the express purpose of causing mistrust within its young core, Windhorst was clear.
“It’s not just possible,” he said. “It’s what happened. … The Pelicans have a method to their madness.”
So I asked @WindhorstESPN if the Pels ever intended to seriously engage with LA on Anthony Davis, or if all the talks & leaks were instead designed to sabotage the young Lakers as revenge for what N.O. sees as tampering, & he said "it's not just possible, it's what happened." 👀 pic.twitter.com/wki2hDPaEs
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) February 7, 2019
The Lakers, for their part, lost by 42 points in Indiana on Wednesday night. Their latest public trade offer for Davis is six players and two first-round picks, among them four of their top five scorers not named LeBron James. The Pelicans aren’t showing any real desire to engage with them, but they’re also sitting a now healthy Davis and banking on increased competition in the summer netting them more in return.
“All indications are the Pelicans are waiting to see what options will be presented in front of them,” wrote Andrew Lopez of the Times-Picayune. “But the Pelicans … are still taking a gamble, albeit a very calculated one.”
All the while, Danny Ainge and the Celtics wait to see just where they fall in this sweepstakes, which looks like it might not be over before they can sit at the table.