The New Orleans Pelicans stance has been firm all season long — Anthony Davis will not be traded — and Adrian Wojnarowski reconfirmed that notion last night on ESPN’s NBA Countdown show.
“They want to continue to try and improve this team to convince Anthony Davis to stay there,” said Wojnarowski. “Dell Demps, their gm, you know he told me, ‘Listen, we’ve won two of three games since we’ve gotten healthier.’ Niko Mirotic is back, Elfrid Payton, point guard. And he hasn’t had a chance this year to really evaluate their whole group together. They’ve had a lot of injuries; they don’t have a very long window to do that between now and the February 7th trade deadline.”
This idea was corroborated by Davis’ representation, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports Group.
“Rich Paul, Anthony Davis’ agent, told me that they have not had any real substantial discussions about Anthony’s future in New Orleans with the Pelicans,” said Wojnarowski. “That Anthony’s focus has been on let’s get this team back — they’re two and half games out of eighth place in the West. Let’s try to get the group back into the playoff picture, but there’s no promises about his future beyond the trade deadline. And I think it’s safe to say right now, I think he’ll be there certainly through the trade deadline. New Orleans does not want to trade him.”
Wojnarowski went on to say that the focus of the New Orleans front office is to find another helpful deal and he mentioned the Nikola Mirotic trade last season. However, Woj isn’t sure another package will become available like that one in this season’s trade market which would really bolster the Pelicans lineup.
After Woj finished talking, it was interesting to hear Stan Van Gundy’s take on the whole situation in New Orleans regarding just how much help Anthony Davis needs.
“The New Orleans thing as far as the talent around him is interesting to me,” said Van Gundy. “So they’ve got Jrue Holiday having a career year. He’s averaging over 20 points and eight assists. They’ve got Julius Randle averaging 20 points and nine rebounds. Payton’s been out, but they’re 10-3 when he plays. Like to me it’s not as much a talent issue as get that whole group and guard somebody. Guard somebody. You’re fourth in the league offensively regardless of all of the injuries. That should put you firmly into the playoff race. But you’re 25th defensively. You’re like, forget all this talk about talent, and as a group, commit to trying to stop someone.”
Considering we just witnessed the Pelicans give up 147 points last night to the Warriors, it’s hard to disagree with SVG about New Orleans needing to prioritize defense moving forward.