Pelicans taking calls for Anthony Davis offers—just not from Lakers—as Lonzo Ball looks East

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Anthony Davis technically remains a Pelican.

But he’s been pretty much erased from the team (even its pregame intro video) and New Orleans teammates appear to have resigned themselves to the fact Davis, sidelined with a finger injury, won’t be back.

 

But there’s fresh news about the Lakers, Lonzo Ball and more as the clock ticks toward the Feb. 7 NBA trade deadline.

Here are the latest Anthony Davis trade rumors:

— Almost all of this week’s talk about a Davis deal has focused on the Lakers, for a lot of reasons (see below).

But that means the Pelicans have to be willing trade partners, and that’s not where things stand right now, ESPN.com reported.

“New Orleans has no interest in acquiescing Anthony Davis to the Lakers right now,” NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski said.

 

— An earlier Los Angeles Times report said any Lakers offer to the Pelicans for Davis, 25, “has to start” with guard Lonzo Ball, forward Kyle Kuzma, center Ivica Zubac and a future first-round draft pick. But that’s hard to reconcile with this reality: New Orleans GM Dell Demps is “not picking up his phone,” ESPN reported, citing an unidentified source familiar with the situation.

Per a subsequent ESPN report Thursday afternoon:

For now, Demps is following the San Antonio Spurs’ initial playbook with Kawhi Leonard from a year ago: Accept calls and listen to deal concepts and offers.

Demps is picking up his phone and returning calls — just not from the Lakers, sources said. From Paul George to Leonard to Davis, the Lakers’ front office is growing accustomed to icy receptions from teams enduring All-Star trade demands with a full year left on their contracts.

— Davis, 25, is currently out with the finger injury and has not played in a game since Jan. 18. When asked if Davis will play again with the Pelicans, coach Alvin Gentry was noncommittal.

“That’s a hard thing to answer,” he said. “I don’t really know how to answer that. I assume that he will.”

 

— The speculation surrounding the Lakers and a Davis deal has been “weighing heavily” on several of the L.A.’s young players, according to ESPN that cites unidentified league sources.

Lakers coach Luke Walton, according to the report, has addressed the rumors with individual players but not the team as a whole.

— Meanwhile, as for those Lakers rumors, there have been reports this week that rather than going to the Pelicans, Lonzo Ball would prefer to be sent to a third team that “doesn’t have an established point guard” if he’s include in a deal for Davis, according to The Athletic.

The L.A. Times reported that Ball — with little leverage, to be honest — would like to play for the Knicks or the Bulls:

Although Lonzo Ball has no say in where he lands in a trade, his preference would be for the Lakers to find a third team such as Chicago or New York as a landing spot for the second-year point guard if he were part of a deal for New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis, according to sources not authorized to speak publicly.

That adds some definition to an earlier report that said merely that Ball preferred to be moved to a “third team that doesn’t have an established point guard.”

— This much we know: Davis will not sign an extension with New Orleans and wants to be traded, agent Rich Paul told ESPN. The Lakers “have been determined” to trade for him, according to ESPN, but the center has “not given the Pelicans a list of preferred destinations,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

“Anthony has nothing but respect for the organization that he’s currently with and will be with until they decide that they want to honor the request that we’ve made,” Paul told the Times. “So at the end of the day I think it’s about what’s best for both Anthony and the organization going forward. This gives direction. Everyone has a clear understanding, and we go from there.”

ESPN reported that “Lakers president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka plan to make an aggressive push to acquire Davis before the Feb. 7 deadline, armed with confidence that Davis wants to play for the Lakers and would sign an extension, league sources said.”

— The Pelicans, as mentioned, say they won’t be rushed into any deal. They’re willing to listen to all offers but “won’t make a deal before next Thursday’s NBA trade deadline unless they’re offered an overwhelming package for the franchise’s star,” ESPN reported, citing unidentified league sources.

In the same report, ESPN says Paul may try to “depress” interest in Davis by anyone but the Lakers:

“(M)ultiple league sources expect the agent and star to soon deliver word throughout the league that Davis’ preferred destination is the Lakers and he’ll become a rental player until 2020 with a trade anywhere else.

“It would be an attempt to depress offers in the marketplace, a way to perhaps make the Lakers’ trade package more appealing.”

— A primary target of a move to depress interest might be the Celtics, who when the Davis news broke on Monday immediately became the subject of conjecture. Yahoo Sports reports that Davis isn’t particularly interested in Boston as a potential destination:

“Regarding team preferences, Boston is not a top target for Davis, sources said. There’s a growing belief of uncertainty that Kyrie Irving will re-sign with Boston, sources said, even though he vowed to do so at the beginning of the season.”

The Celtics, because of the NBA’s Rose Rule, can’t make any deal for Davis official until Irving’s contract expires July 1.

— The Celtics forced delay, compounded by the uncertainty of whether Irving will even re-sign, pushes Boston to the back burner and potentially makes the Knicks the most attractive landing spot in the Eastern Conference from a trade perspective.

Notes Yahoo Sports: The Knicks have valuable trade chips in Kristaps Porzingis, rookie Kevin Knox and potentially the No. 1 overall pick in 2019.

Davis has missed the Pelicans last five games with a finger injury. He’s averaging 29.3 points and 13.3 rebounds this season.

Ball sprained his ankle last week and is expected to miss four-to-six weeks while Kuzma is tallying 19.1 points per game this season. Zubac was selected by the Lakers in the second round of the 2016 draft.

The Lakers are 26-25 ahead of Thursday’s (Friday, Manila time) game against the Clippers.

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