Lakers are Anthony Davis' preferred destination, won't re-sign elsewhere, per report
Davis plans to be a Laker by 2020, one way or another
The Los Angeles Lakers will make an aggressive push to acquire disgruntled New Orleans Pelicans All-Star forward Anthony Davis prior to the NBA's trade deadline on February 7, but even if they are unsuccessful, there's a good chance that Davis will still ultimately end up in the Purple-and-Gold.
According to a report from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Davis - and agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports - are expected to let the league know that the Lakers are Davis' preferred destination and that he plans to sign there as a free agent in 2020, regardless of where the Pelicans may trade him.
On Monday, Paul notified the Pelicans that Davis, who is eligible to sign a five-year, $240 million supermax contract offer over the summer with the team, has no intention of signing an extension and that he has instead requested a trade away from the organization, which should make for an interesting scene on Tuesday night when the Pelicans face the Rockets (8 p.m. ET -- Watch on FuboTV with NBA League Pass add-on).
"Los Angeles Lakers president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka plan to make an aggressive push to acquire Davis before the Feb. 7 deadline, armed with confidence that Davis wants to play for the Lakers and would sign an extension, league sources said.
The Lakers are expected to talk with the Pelicans soon, league sources said.
After agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports told ESPN on Monday that he had informed the Pelicans that Davis wouldn't sign an extension this summer and wanted a trade, multiple league sources expect the agent and star to soon deliver word throughout the league that Davis' preferred destination is the Lakers and he'll become a rental player until 2020 with a trade anywhere else.
It would be an attempt to depress offers in the marketplace, a way to perhaps make the Lakers' trade package more appealing.
The Lakers are willing to forfeit the flexibility of a max contract slot in 2019 free agency for the chance to turn a combination of picks and their young assets -- who include Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Lonzo Ball -- to acquire Davis."
The Pelicans are in no rush to make a move with Davis, per Wojnarowski, and they are unlikely to make a deal before the deadline unless they are "overwhelmed" by an offer.
"Relative to specific talks of a trade, we will do this on our terms and our timeline," the Pelicans said in a statement on Monday, via the NBA. "One that makes the most sense for our team and it will not be dictated by those outside of our organization. We have also requested the League to strictly enforce the tampering rules associated with this transaction."
Should the two sides ultimately come to an agreement on a deal, there would be some major ramifications for both sides as, according to SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh, the Lakers would see their projected win total, as well as their playoff chances, increase significantly.
REST OF SEASON
w/ Anthony Davis
On the other hand, Oh's projections tell a much different story for the Pelicans as they would suffer a rather major drop-off on both ends of the floor without Davis on their roster.
REST OF SEASON
w/o Anthony Davis
With Davis' desire to be in L.A. now known, coupled with the results of these expert projections, the pressure is on Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka to get a deal done because it is clear that Davis would make an immediate impact on their team.
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