Adrian Wojnarowksi just dropped, if not a bomb, at least a solid little noise on NBA Twitter, reporting that Pelicans’ Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin is starting to put together ideal trade packages for superstar Anthony Davis. More importantly, the Clippers (along with the Lakers, Knicks, and Nets) have all inquired after Davis. The Clips have been linked to Davis since February, when he was listed as one of their preferred teams, but this is the first time they’ve been said to be fully investigating a trade since then.
As suspected, Kawhi Leonard’s success in Toronto - both in terms of having them on the doorstep of a championship and the increasingly likely odds that he returns to the Raptors - has emboldened other teams to enter the market, as they might believe they have better chances of keeping him than originally thought. This could play to the Clippers too — even if they don’t land another superstar, as long as their organization is strong, the team is competitive, and they have a plan, they might have much greater faith in their ability to retain Davis.
There are some other interesting nuggets of information, too. First of all, Griffin’s initial desires are an “All Star” level player, a young player with All Star potential, and two first round picks. The Clippers don’t technically have an All Star, but Danilo Gallinari and Lou Williams were both at that level this season, and might qualify for Griffins’ desires. Both Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Landry Shamet are young players with All Star potential (though Shai clearly has more than Shamet), and the Clippers are flush with draft picks. Therefore, the Clippers aren’t out of the running yet, but would eventually probably have to include Shai to get into serious negotiations. That has been reported to be off the table, but we will see.
Second, Griffin apparently thinks multiple teams will need to get involved for him to get his ideal package. The Clippers have tons of assets, so it’s possible they could either be the recipient of a Davis deal, or possibly jump in as a third team to facilitate the trade, and either accumulate more assets or perhaps land a different star in the process.
Finally, Griffin might not be in the mindset of a full rebuild. Instead, he wants to build around Jrue Holiday, Zion Williamson (who the Pelicans will pick next week in the 2019 NBA Draft), and the trade returns from the Davis deal. If he is looking for pieces that might be more “win now”, the Clippers could be in luck, as Gallinari, Lou, and Montrezl Harrell are all very good NBA players who could help the Pelicans to a playoff spot over the next couple years. It seems unlikely that a package without any young studs gets it done, but if the Clippers throw in enough good players, maybe it happens.
Griffin apparently wants the deal to get done before the draft next week (June 20), so it’s very possible we see an increasing number of rumors in the days ahead. Buckle up everyone!