Scott Threlkeld/Associated Press
New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis figures to be one of the biggest trade targets on the market during the NBA‘s offseason, but potential suitors have to weigh the cost with the reality he could leave following the 2019-20 campaign if he opts out of his contract.
The New York Knicks may not have to worry about that if they trade for him.
According to Ian Begley of SNY, sources said the Kentucky product “would certainly consider re-signing with the Knicks if he felt he could be successful in New York.”
Begley’s piece provided a road map for the Knicks to pair Davis with two max-contract free agents. He noted they would need to sign the two free agents first and then send out approximately $21 million in salary to accommodate Davis’ $27 million contract for 2019 under league rules.
He suggested trading the team’s 2019 first-round pick, which has a 14 percent chance at being No. 1 overall, is the “easiest way to get there.” However, he also pointed out “there is no consensus among the Knicks as to whether they would include the 2019 No. 1 pick in a deal for Davis or any other star.”
That No. 1 pick figures to be Duke’s Zion Williamson, who is a generational talent and someone the Knicks or Pelicans could build around for years to come.
However, Davis is a proven commodity at the highest level as a six-time All-Star, three-time All-NBA selection and three-time All-Defensive selection. New York would go from the team with the worst record in the league at 17-65 to an immediate contender if it signed two max free agents, such as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Under that scenario, there would be incentive to pair those players in a win-now window with Davis, even if Williamson could become a star down the line.
Trading Williamson would not be an easy decision, although Davis’ willingness to remain in New York long-term would certainly be a factor.