NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Knicks don’t plan on sitting out the Anthony Davis sweepstakes.
According to a report, they are mulling ways to land the New Orleans center/power forward, who has informed the Pelicans he will not sign an extension with them this summer and has requested a trade.
“They are going to look at it,” an NBA source familiar with the Knicks’ thinking told Marc Berman of the New York Post.
Davis, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft out of Kentucky, has developed into arguably the premier big man in the NBA, averaging 24 points and 11 rebounds, while shooting 52 percent from the floor during his seven-year career. The 6-foot-10, 250-pounder is having an MVP-caliber season so far in 2018-19, averaging 29 points and 13 rebounds in 41 games.
“We will do this on our terms and our deadline,” the Pelicans said in a statement Monday.
Multiple reports have suggested the Los Angeles Lakers are the leading candidate to trade for Davis, but the Knicks are grouped with several other teams that at least have an outside shot.
According to Berman, the Knicks’ strongest pitch to the Pelicans could center around two of Kristaps Porzingis, their No. 1 pick in next year’s draft unprotected, which has a chance to be the top pick overall, and rookie Kevin Knox, who has the potential to be a mainstay in the league for years. The unprotected pick is a huge chip because whoever has it has the best odds of winning the Draft Lottery and selecting Duke superstars Zion Williamson or R.J. Barrett.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday that Davis really wants to end up with friend LeBron James and the Lakers. If he’s not sent to Los Angeles by the Feb. 7 trade deadline, he will reportedly treat next season, the final one of his contract, like a rental player and then sign with the Lakers in the summer of 2020.
“Anthony wants to be traded to a team that allows him a chance to win consistently and compete for a championship,” Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, told ESPN on Monday. “Anthony wanted to be honest and clear with his intentions, and that’s the reason for informing them of this decision now. That’s in the best interests of both Anthony’s and the organization’s future.”
So, if all of that is true, the best chance the Knicks have is to blow the Pelicans away with an offer and then try to convince Davis to re-sign.
How a potential trade for Davis would impact the Knicks’ chances of courting Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving in free agency this summer remains to be seen.