TORONTO — The Knicks’ chances of landing center Anthony Davis by throwing a load of future assets at New Orleans apparently could need a third team to get something accomplished.
According to ESPN, Pelicans’ new executive VP of basketball operations David Griffin wants an All-Star player in the package — along with a player with All-Star potential and two first-round picks.
The Knicks can fill all the requirements except for a current All-Star, as they became bereft of such a standout the moment Kristaps Porzingis requested a trade and was dealt to Dallas an hour later.
The report stated that the Clippers, Nets and Lakers are reportedly deemed in the mix for Davis, along with the Knicks. The Celtics were not mentioned.
Getting a third team to join seemed like a requirement for some of those teams. The Celtics’ situation is complicated by the unknown status of free agent point guard Kyrie Irving.
Under Griffin’s potential overasking price, the Knicks could give New Orleans one of three potential All-Stars in youngsters Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson or Dennis Smith Jr. and their two first-round picks from Dallas (2021 and 2023). Then the Knicks would need to probably dangle their third overall pick in the draft (which could be either the rights to RJ Barrett or Ja Morant) to a third team that would provide the Pelicans with an All-Star type.
The third team involved would likely need more than just the Knicks’ third pick. The Knicks may have also include another of their promising young players that does not head to the Pelicans. Hence, the total haul going away could be Knox, Smith Jr., the third overall pick and Dallas’ two first-rounders.
It’s a significant package for Davis, who is a free agent in 2020 and has yet to accomplish big things in the postseason.
“I’m not sure (Griffin’s) going to get all that,’’ one NBA scout said of his reported framework.
In order to still have room for two max salary slots in July, the Knicks would have to relieve themselves of more cap space, probably stuffing Frank Ntilikina into the package.
The Knicks realize such a trade is probably impossible and are content to pair Davis with another max star such as Kevin Durant or Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard, whose stock has risen. Leonard is on the cusp of another championship and an NBA Finals MVP.
A Davis trade on draft night would likely make the Knicks a lot more appealing to Durant, in particular. With reports Irving prefers the Nets over the Knicks, Durant could well be reluctant to join the Knicks’ young roster without a proven star to bring along.
Davis is widely considered a top-five player and the Knicks believe he is willing to sign a long-term deal with the franchise. Davis called the Knicks “a great organization” at All-Star weekend.
The Lakers enhanced their chances of landing Davis, too, by landing the fourth pick after the lottery reveal. They probably have a higher-rated amount of young assets, too. Davis’ rep, Rich Paul, also handles LeBron James – a reason the Pelicans could favor the Knicks and Nets over the Lakers. The Nets have a recently minted All-Star in D’Angelo Russell but he’s a free agent.
Griffin’s goal was to convince Davis to stay long-term after the Pelicans won the lottery and the rights to budding superstar Zion Williamson, but Davis prefers to go to a larger market.
Pelicans owner Gayle Benson has denied it, but a report stated she didn’t want to have Davis get his way and land with the LeBron’s Lakers.