Anthony Davis Trade Destinations: Three Teams That Could Land Five-time All-Star

Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans during a 121-117 win over the LA Clippers at Staples Center on January 14 in Los Angeles, California. Harry How/Getty Images

When he asked to leave New Orleans on Monday, Anthony Davis fired the starting gun on a trade that could significantly alter the NBA landscape.

The five-time All-Star is determined to force his way out of the franchise that drafted him as number one overall pick in the 2012 draft and, as his agent Rich Paul stated, wants to join a team that allows him to regularly compete for the title.

Although a player of Davis's caliber would appeal to almost every franchise in the NBA, there are three teams that have emerged as clear destinations so far.

Los Angeles Lakers

In many ways, the Lakers are an obvious candidate for Davis. Los Angeles signed LeBron James in the summer but failed to recruit the second All-Star caliber player many expected would join the four-time MVP in California.

Magic Johnson, Lakers' basketball head of operations, has repeatedly indicated that the coming summer could be as important for the team's recruitment as the last. Davis and LeBron share the same agent, Rich Paul, and the Lakers have been interested in Davis in the past.

Unlike the Boston Celtics, who under NBA rules cannot trade for the five-time All-Star until July 1, Los Angeles could theoretically get a deal done before the trade deadline on February 7. However, the path from Louisiana to California is far from straightforward. For a start, New Orleans might be happy to trade Davis in the summer or not at all—although that would almost inevitably lead to losing him for free in 2020.

Secondly, if New Orleans was open to negotiations with the Lakers, they would in all likelihood demand a hefty trade package. One which, presumably, would include the likes of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and potentially a first-round pick.

Hearing from sources if Lakers want Anthony Davis, who has requested a trade, LA has to start the deal with Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac, No. 1 pick.

— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) January 28, 2019

ESPN, however, reported that the Lakers would be willing to sacrifice some of their young stars to land Davis, even though they could technically wait until 2020 and sign him without sacrificing a max spot next year. That process, however, would be contingent on Davis agreeing to remain in New Orleans for the final season of his deal before signing for the Lakers.

Boston Celtics

The Celtics have even more assets than the Lakers to include in an offer to the Pelicans, but unlike Los Angeles, they face an anxious wait. Under NBA rules, Boston can't trade for Davis until July 1 because the league wouldn't allow Davis's and Kyrie Irving's contracts together on the roster under the designated rookie exception.

The rule allows players coming off their rookie-scale deals to make up to 30 percent of the salary cap, rather than 25 percent.

However, Boston could still reach an agreement with Davis and the Pelicans and complete the trade after Irving becomes a free agent on July 1.

Crucially, however, the Celtics do not appear to feature prominently on Davis' list of preferred destinations.

Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes suggested "Boston is not a top target" for the five-time All-Star, while Sports Illustrated indicated that the timing of Davis requesting a trade also looked designed to rule Boston out of the race, as the Celtics can't trade for him until the summer.

New York Knicks

The Knicks might have the third-worst record in the NBA but have some valuable trade assets of their own, in the shape of Kristaps Porzingis and rookie Kevin Knox. Furthermore, the Knicks could tank to give themselves the best shot at landing the number one overall pick in this year's draft.

New York would offer Davis the chance of showcasing his abilities on the world's biggest stage, a factor which has often been mentioned as the franchise's main calling card in its pursuit of Kevin Durant.

Yahoo Sports reported that the latter could still land in New York if he decides to become a free agent this summer and explore his options, while the Knicks are also expected to keep an eye on Kemba Walker, who will become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

The prospect of Davis playing in New York, potentially alongside another All-Star, would be intriguing for the league but the Knicks remain some way beyond the favorites to land him.