Featured Image: Mark J. Rebilas, USA Today Sports
Anthony Davis wants out of New Orleans. It has been speculated for months, or even years, that the star big man wanted out, even as he has publicly said otherwise.
However, per Woj, Davis’ agent Rich Paul has informed the team he will not sign any contract extension given to him. While no target team had been requested by Davis or Paul, the preferred destination is one that “allows him the chance to win consistently and compete for a championship.”
Naturally, as fans, we ask “what can we send for him?!” While we would all love at add a Top-5 player in Davis to the team, it would likely be too tricky or too costly. First off is cost; we are talking about a perennial MVP candidate, with a year and a half of contract left, plus his rights. What do we have to offer for him? There is Markelle Fultz, the former #1 overall pick. While I personally still have hope for the young man, he likely does not have a great deal of value to the Pelicans. While Landry Shamet looks like a good rotational piece as a rookie and Zhaire Smith has plenty of defensive potential, neither are the cornerstones of any blockbuster trade. Rather, they are complementary pieces to the big ticket item.
The Sixers have those, but they still may not be compatible. Joel Embiid is off the table, no question about that. Ben Simmons would likely get a deal done, or close to it. But, the team will likely still control him for another 6+ years following an extension, and his loss would leave Philadelphia with T.J. McConnell as the only true Point Guard on the roster. I would hold Simmons out completely. Finally, there is Jimmy Butler. Trading the soon-to-be Free Agent Wing could be a potentially interesting deal. However, the Pelicans would probably decline this, knowing their chances of resigning him after their currently disappointing season is a long shot. This is without any required picks, which would most certainly include the Miami First Rounder as well as our own this year, or salary filler and smaller prospects like Chandler and Shamet.
However, this does open up a different possibility for the 76ers. With Davis officially on the block, the Pelicans will most likely begin a rebuild around whatever new toys they receive in exchange for their star. This would include, to the Sixers’ delight, a sell off of NOP’s other valuable parts. Jrue Holiday, the defensively minded combo guard, fills a huge need for the team. A point-of-attack defender for the Kyrie Irvings of the world, a secondary ball handler for Ben, and another All-Star level talent to add to the current core. While his contract is quite large, barely under $26 million this season, he is both cheaper and younger than similar alternatives talked about in the media recently (Mike Conley).
What would a trade for Jrue look like? Without including any of the current Big 3, the only reasonable trade has to start with Fultz, Chandler, and a 1st Rounder. Whether another pick, or a prospect such as Smith or Shamet are included, would depend on the market and how much the Pelicans want in return. A trade of Fultz, Chandler, Smith, and a 1st probably gets the deal done.
The only question is: Do the Sixers pull the trigger?