Los Angeles Lakers Betting Favorite to Land Anthony Davis
NBA free agency looms right around the corner, and some big names are in play. One of the biggest names that people are looking at, though, is still under contract. Anthony Davis demanded a trade from New Orleans at the start of the year. The Pelicans didn't trade him before the deadline last year, but it seems reasonably likely that the situation will be dealt with one way or another before the season starts. But how? BetOnline has odds posted for which uniform Davis will be wearing at the start of the next season. Let's look at the options:
Lakers (+100): The one thing that the Pelicans have working for them here is that the Lakers' management has repeatedly shown lately that they are complete and utter morons. The Magic Debacle. Rob Pelinka's ongoing insanity. A botched coaching search. It goes on and on. And they are coming off a truly disastrous season after landing the biggest prize in the game, so desperation is not going to be at a low level. So, the Lakers absolutely could look to make a splash like this to change things. They think that they should be the ultimate destination in the NBA, but they aren't right now. So, if they have to give away most of the assets they have to get a top guy, they would. It makes sense for them. It remains to be seen, though, if it makes as much sense for New Orleans. They are going to be looking for the best price they possibly can get. And with multiple bidders, they are in control. I am not at all convinced that the Lakers can put together the best package. I do not see them as a deserving favorite.
Pelicans (+200): I wish that this was a viable choice. The consolidation of power in big markets in basketball is really boring. I would much prefer a draft-and-develop league to a free agency-driven one, but that ship has long since sailed. I wanted to believe that the prospect of playing with Zion Williamson on a team that already wasn't terrible, and would have the pieces in place to attract what they don't have, would be enough for Davis to change his mind and stick around. But that was naive. The Pelicans have taken the hard line, saying that they want Davis to pledge that he will absolutely stick around. He won't do that, and a meeting between team and player allegedly didn't go great. There is absolutely no value in this price. If you bet it at this point you aren't betting that Davis will stick around in New Orleans, but just that the team doesn't get a deal done this summer and will trade him during the season. That would hijack another season for the team, and just wouldn't be worth it.
Celtics (+200): If I was betting, I would put all of my money here. The Celtics saw the Eastern Conference get away from the in a hurry, and suddenly they are the fourth-best team in the conference. Oops. They need to make a big splash to get back on track after a disastrous year, and this is not a squad that has had any fear at all about making a bold move. They have plenty of assets to get things done, including additional first-round picks from the Clippers and Kings this year and Grizzlies next year. And in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, they have two assets who are probably more desirable than anything the Lakers can offer. The Celtics won't want to give up both, but surely they have accepted that one will have to go. They missed out on Kawhi Leonard last year because they weren't willing to include those players, so the lesson should be learned. They only have Kyrie Irving around one more year currently, and Irving and Davis are good friends who would like playing together, so this is a move that would help the team and appeal to the player. If Davis moves, I expect he will move here. This price is more than fair.
Knicks (+400): The Knicks seem to think that they are on the verge of becoming the next big thing. But they don't have any players on their roster that people are going to be tripping over to get. They don't have any first-round picks other than their own until they get a Dallas pick in 2021 - and by then that shouldn't be a great pick. I obviously can see why the Knicks would want to make a deal, but I have no idea how they could put together a competitive bid. The only way you could really justify betting this is if you think that the Lakers and Celtics will fail in their bids - the Knicks win only if they are left to pick up scraps of a broken market.
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