A frontcourt pairing of Anthony Davis and Zion Williamson should be seen as the future of the NBA. It shares remnants of the 1997 draft when then 31-year old David Robinson was given second life with the lottery score of Wake Forest University big man, Tim Duncan, providing David Stern and the rest of the NBA with the most devastating 4-5 tandem in the league.
However, according to a report from noted news breaker Shams Charania, AD still wants out.
The New York Knicks have to be considered a frontrunner in the race for Anthony Davis because they have both the means and the motivation. The Knicks were said to be one of AD’s four desired teams back on February 4th, and the Knicks have the capital to pry him from New Orleans with the number three overall pick as well as Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, Alonzo Trier, Dennis Smith Jr. as well as 2021 and 2023 first round draft selections via Dallas.
The Knicks don’t want another extended rebuild. They’d prefer to build a super team, and this is the perfect offseason to do it with notable free agents such as Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Kemba Walker, Tobias Harris, Jimmy Butler and more.
It’s up to Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin to score a deal that will both coincide with 28-year-old Jrue Holiday and 18-year-old Zion Williamson’s like-mindedness regardless of past (mis) dealings.
A combination of elite, young prospects coupled with savvy veterans is precisely what the doctor has ordered for the Pelicans. And we’ll work together to weigh the best possible scenarios for the former MVP and DPOY finalist whether via New York or another venue.
Does Knox’s horrible analytics from his rookie year worry you if he’s part of trade with Knicks?— Ralph Malbrough (@SaintsForecast) May 21, 2019
Nearly every deal is going to involve Kevin Knox so let’s cover this now.
Kevin Knox is an explosive talent with all of the measurables that make scouts and executives fall over themselves.
But Ralph is correct in his assessment of the rookie’s first go ‘round. Knox shot just 37% from the floor and averaged just 12.8 points per game while putting up a downright disconcerting negative-14.3 per 100 possessions. In short, he just isn’t a usable basketball player at this point in his career.
Knox is less than the basis for this deal. Although his upside is high, he can be considered no less than a high-priced flyer far less valuable than that of Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram.
Dennis Smith Jr. has the advantage of being a second-year player and thus presents more evidence as being a solid, contributing player in the immediacy next to Jrue Holiday. His numbers (14 points, five assists on 47% eFG) don’t leap off the page but he was nearly a net-positive and presents explosiveness at a position where the Pelicans desperately need it. Long story short, he has displayed more NBA-ready properties but has also had an extra season to show them.
And just watch the man fly:
Mitchell Robinson is the prize in this deal (outside of picks). The 36th overall pick made a name for himself immediately earning All-NBA second-team honors by finishing second in the NBA with 2.4 blocks per game while shooting 69.4% from the floor.
The 21-year old would give the Pelicans the cost controlled rim protecting bouncer they’d lose in AD and at a fraction of the cost. Including him in the deal is almost a necessity.
#3— Calvin Carr (@calvintcarr) May 21, 2019
This is probably a bit rich even by our standards. From Chris Broussard’s perspective teams are willing to throw their purses at the Pelicans, but let’s stay realistic. Should the Knicks seek to deal for AD, they’d likely be willing to part with the #3, Robinson and one of DSJ or Knox. Asking for the entirety of their young core as well as the third pick is rich even by Danny Ainge’s track record. Plus, taking one of them out of the deal may give the Knicks’ brass reason to deal the Mavericks’ 2023 first round pick (top-10 protected) which they probably won’t be around to use anyway.
3-Team trade of Pels, Knicks and Bulls sending Dennis Smith Jr and/or Frank Ntilikina w/ pick(s) to the Bulls. Gives the Pelicans #3 and #7 picks in the 1st round. Potential Zion, RJ and Reddish Duke reunion in Nola?— Josh Cook (@jcook1337) May 21, 2019
This is a deal we’ve discussed in the past by way of the Lakers and one I’d be eager to make. Should the Bulls be higher on DSJ than they are on Coby White and Darius Garland, this deal certainly makes sense. However, even should they value him slightly above, his two years of NBA service make his incoming payday and team options a much more time sensitive affair. Add that to an incoming rookie’s upside and it makes more sense to hold onto what they’ve got.
Knicks receive - Anthony Davis
Pelicans receive - Mitchell Robinson, Dennis Smith Jr, third overall pick, 2021 first (via NYK, top-8 protected), 2023 first (via Dallas, top-10 protected)
This is my choice. The Pelicans lose out on the veteran presence they’d add from Boston (Smart), they don’t gain their blue-chipper young veteran (Tatum, Ingram) but they steal the third overall pick in Barrett, a low cost rim protector in Robinson, take a flyer on DSJ and gain additional draft capital that will be an incredibly valuable resource going forward.
It’s a rich ask, but it spaces the resources out over the course of four years giving the Knicks reasonable cause to bite. The Pelicans have the leverage based on the Knicks’ young players’ minimal outputs through their young careers, and while the 2019 NBA draft is said to be a three man draft, Ja Morant and Zion are the definitive prizes. This gives David Griffin added ammunition to fleece the Knicks who have the additional assets to make the deal by virtue of the Kristaps Porzingis’ trade.
So, how did I do?
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