The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers are engaged in separate trade talks with the New Orleans Pelicans in pursuit of star forward Anthony Davis, league sources told ESPN on Wednesday.
The Lakers and Celtics are negotiating competing trade packages to acquire Davis, whom David Griffin, New Orleans’ executive vice president of basketball operations, seems intent on trading prior to the NBA draft on June 20, league sources said.
New Orleans and Los Angeles have canvassed the league to find a third team that would use the Lakers’ No. 4 overall pick in exchange for sending a high-level player to the Pelicans as part of a deal, league sources said.
The Lakers’ package has been centered on guard Lonzo Ball and forward Brandon Ingram, sources said. So far, it is believed that the Lakers are trying to hold on to forward Kyle Kuzma.
The Brooklyn Nets and LA Clippers are two teams with interest in Davis who haven’t been able to gather traction in conversations with New Orleans, league sources said.
The Lakers appear to be trying to exercise some level of restraint in trade talks, especially given that they hold the leverage as Davis’ preferred destination. Davis’ agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, has indicated publicly and privately to the Celtics that Davis would leave Boston in free agency in 2020, essentially becoming a one-year rental for the Celtics.
Nevertheless, Boston is still determined to trade for Davis, a six-time All-Star and three-time All-NBA selection, and hope that he can be a lure to keep All-Star guard Kyrie Irving from leaving in free agency.
Irving had discussed the possibility of joining Kevin Durant as a free agent in either New York or Brooklyn, sources said, but Durant has been lost for the 2019-20 season after surgery to repair a ruptured right Achilles tendon.
Word of the negotiations quickly caused a shift in the odds to win the 2019-20 NBA championship at Caesars Sportsbook. The Celtics went from 16-1 to 10-1, and the Lakers improved from 8-1 to 5-1. Meanwhile, the Pelicans’ odds to win it all decreased from 40-1 to 60-1.