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New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis is already weighing his next move ahead of the summer of 2021, when he becomes a free agent.
Get More Sports’ Chris Sheridan reported Monday that Davis is “eyeing” the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers should he move on from the Pelicans and that the Celtics are leading the pack.
None of those four teams is a surprising inclusion in the Davis sweepstakes.
The Celtics and 76ers have the best long-term outlook of any two squads in the Eastern Conference. The prospect of joining Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward or Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons will be tantalizing for any marquee free agent.
The Lakers and Knicks, meanwhile, play in two of the biggest media markets and could see their fortunes turn around after years of mediocrity.
Los Angeles already has LeBron James signed through the 2020-21 season with a player option in 2021-22. New York doesn’t have a comparable star just yet but hasn’t been shy about its plan to pursue big names in free agency.
Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes posited on FS1’s Undisputed last week that the Knicks could be a serious contender to sign Kevin Durant if he opts out of his deal with the Golden State Warriors next summer.
“New York Knicks have a very good shot at luring KD away from the Bay Area. … The same allure that LeBron had towards the Los Angeles Lakers, just the building, the culture, is the same way I know that KD feels about the Knicks.” — @ChrisBHaynes https://t.co/04xDGmLA2k
Perhaps the real question is whether Davis will have much say in his next move.
Like other teams poised to lose their best players in free agency, the Pelicans may decide to trade Davis if it becomes clear he won’t re-sign with them. At that point, his immediate future would be up to New Orleans.
Kawhi Leonard joined the Toronto Raptors this offseason after the San Antonio Spurs granted his trade request. The move went over so well with the two-time All-Star that Sporting News’ Sean Deveney reported he “[had] no interest in playing for the Raptors” and would potentially sit out the 2018-19 season before opting out and hitting free agency.
Leonard has appeared in two preseason games for Toronto this fall.
Davis is smart to take a long-term view of his situation, but a lot can change in a few years. This time last October, the chances George would re-sign with the Thunder seemed slim, yet that’s what he did.