Sometimes in the NBA, superstars are traded at the peak of their career. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was dealt by the Bucks to the Lakers in 1975. A decade earlier, the Warriors shipped out Wilt Chamberlain to Philadelphia. And at just 25, Anthony Davis looks to join the two other big men in their mid-career trades that shifted the power dynamic of the NBA.

Pelicans’ Davis to Enter Free Agency

The Pelicans are 15-20. Davis becomes an unrestricted free agent in just two years. He’s got a long history of disappointment with New Orleans. He expressed concerns about staying there, comparing it to Kevin Garnett overstaying title chances in Minnesota. He also said that he values “legacy over money.” At first glance, this might mean that Davis would stay with the Pelicans, truly become a franchise player, and reject the idea of jumping to a bigger market team. But with context, the most likely explanation is that Davis wants to go somewhere that gives him a chance of winning a title. The Pelicans can offer Davis the largest contract in the league, according to the current Collective Bargaining Agreement: a five year, $239.5 million deal but as Davis said, “legacy over money.”

Most signs point to a trade to Los Angeles. LeBron James is now 34. He can’t afford to wait for Davis. There was a reason why he said trading for him would “be amazing” after a game against the Brooklyn Nets. Davis recently bought a $7.5 million home in Westlake Village, an L.A. suburb. On top of those two events, he also changed agents this summer to Rich Paul of Klutch Sports. Paul is most known for representing James.


If Davis were to stay with the Pelicans, he’d be expected to sign a short-term deal, similar to James. By the time he’d be 29, he’d qualify as a ten-year veteran. If he signed a five-year max deal, he’d make a mind-boggling $51.6 million in the last year of the deal. However, the Lakers are expected to make offers for the Pelicans, who might be forced to trade him and get something rather than being left empty-handed. There’s a reason none of the team’s young core was put up for grabs in exchange for Trevor Ariza. Until July 1, the Lakers are expected to be the prime landing spot for Davis. Then, Kyrie Irving would no longer be playing under the designated player extension. That would mean that a much deeper Boston Celtics team, more likely to offer pieces, would join the chase.

Recent trades that mimic what we could see with Davis are the Kawhi Leonard trade or the KG to Boston trade. But Leonard had numerous injury concerns and KG was 31. Davis appears to be behind his injuries and at only 25, he’s likely a few years away from his peak. Whenever Davis moves, it’ll be one of the biggest trades the NBA has ever seen.

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