The New Orleans Pelicans, despite being 4th in a nuclear arms race of a West, are still a hot mess and that's unfair to their generational superstar. I will admit that this year, the first year of “Boogie and the Brow“, was a total and pleasant surprise. Two bigs with limited ability to space the floor on a modern NBA roster? That seemed crazy but man did the early results pay off. Then it seemed to come crashing down when DeMarcus Cousins tore his achilles tendon, leaving Anthony Davis to again carry an “okay” Pelicans team. The NBA is unfair.
Look at this stat line please: 28 points per game, 11.1 rebounds per game, 2.4 blocks per game, and a 53% field goal percentage. It gets even better considering he's only 25 years old! Anthony Davis has been in the MVP and even finished 5th in MVP voting at age 22. Age 22!!! He's been a 5 time All Star and was the 2017 All Star MVP. While his stats are out of this world, he simply cannot do it himself, especially in the Western conference.
Until the Pelicans stole DeMarcus Cousins from the Kings, Davis was on an island alone in terms of talent. Dell Demps, the Pelicans GM, had a horrid string of draft picks, trades, and signings. While this year may help heal some past wounds, with the emergence of Jrue Holiday and the Mirotic trade, it leaves the Pelicans in a bind. New Orleans sits at $94.5 million in salaries next year and that's not including the extension they have to give DeMarcus Cousins. A core of an overpaid Jrue Holiday, a possibly hobbled DeMarcus Cousins, and your lone superstar in Davis cannot compete in the West. Yet that core, coupled with very questionable and overpaid role players, is what New Orleans is stuck with moving forward.
It's safe to say Anthony Davis is going to be a Pelican for a few more years, mainly because his contract runs through the 2020-2021 season. I'm going to tell you now, 2021 is not far away and the clock is ticking every single day for Davis' tenure in New Orleans. If Davis hits the open market after the 2020-2021 season, he'll be just entering his prime at age 28. There isn't a single team, GM, or coach in this league that wouldn't offer the world for Davis; his free agency will be quite a show. If the Pelicans don't improve drastically between now and then, it's safe to expect Anthony Davis walks away from a place he calls his home. It would be smart for the Pelicans to trade him if they know he's going to walk, but what team would even have the assets for him?
There is only one team in the NBA that can offer a haul that would at least get Dell Demps to pick up his phone, the Boston Celtics. Danny Ainge's war chest is still full of picks and now players such as Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Terry Rozier. NBA guru Adrian Wojnarowski reported as early as 2017 that Boston was on the prowl for Davis and it caught everyone's eye, especially Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry who said the following;
_"I know there’s been rumors about Boston trying to trade for him or whatever, and my response to that is, yeah, we’ll trade him. But they’re going to have to give us the New England Patriots and the two planes that they just bought. ...And I don’t think they’re going to do that. So we’re not even thinking about those kind of things."_
Would Boston pull the trigger on that trade? I certainly think so. Danny Ainge is a cold hearted businessman in the NBA and does whatever it takes to either win or rebuild. I will be the first to say a trio of Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, and Anthony Davis would rule the Eastern Conference for at least four years.
Davis' free agency or even trade rumors won't gain any serious traction for another few years and we can only wait until then. It's safe to say he deserves to be on a winning team or at least one that will build around him. Until then, we should enjoy his freakish stat lines, crazy highlight reels, and monstrous performances.