The New Orleans Pelicans are walking on thin ice when it comes to their future. While they may have one of the best players in the NBA in Anthony Davis, wins have been hard to come by. Despite making the playoffs for just the second time in his career last season, it appears that the Pelicans and Davis are at a standstill. Will he stay or will he go?
The good news for the Pelicans is that they have Anthony through this season and next. However, things can get real messy in 2020. But what happens if the Pelicans miss the playoffs this season? There are some who believe that Davis, while loyal may ask to be traded. There are reports that teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics are interested in dealing for the star.
But let’s just say that Davis’ contract is up and he’s leaning toward walking. What must the Pelicans do in order for Anthony Davis to stay?
For starters, it begins now. Before the 2019 NBA trade deadline passes, the Pelicans must add another scorer. It’s hard to say if they can actually get by with Elfrid Payton and Jrue Holiday at PG and SG. But if they can, then what’s missing is a scoring SF. With Davis, Julius Randle and Nikola Mirotic in the post, they have the defense and offense necessary to put up points and stop opposing post players.
There were talks that Carmelo Anthony would be a good fit but he’s a temporary fix. His presence alone would not push the Pelicans to a title but they must think long-term here. The objective is to keep Davis past his current deal. In order for that to happen, the team must go out and get someone in their mid 20’s or a current star with a high ceiling.
A few names that come to mind are Brandon Ingram of the Lakers, Jimmy Butler of the Philadelphia 76ers, Kawhi Leonard of the Toronto Raptors or Kevin Durant of the Warriors. Anything short of adding another superstar, and Davis could be gone.
There’s no debating his talent. However, his leadership skills are not where they should be at this stage of his career. By now, the Pelicans should have made the necessary adjustments needed to make the team annual contenders. Either that or Davis should have spoken up about who he would like to see in a Pelicans’ uniform by now.
Just last season, the Pelicans provided Davis with DeMarcus Cousins but he wasn’t retained once the season ended. To compensate, they added Randle who has been outstanding but yet, they are still straddling the line of good and mediocre. Changes are needed and as bad as it is to say, they must do it for Davis just as much as the organization in general.
The NBA is geared toward “Super Teams” and it’s time a small market team like the New Orleans Pelicans find a way to join in.
If SF is not the route they wish to go in then maybe a move for Bradley Beal, Klay Thompson or Kemba Walker. The Pelicans are currently treading water in the Western Conference. As they look toward the deadline, other teams are rumored to be on either the buy or sell list. Will the Pelicans be buyers or sellers? Will they look to add another star or will they look to give a star away?
The key to keeping Anthony Davis is simple. They must show him that the future of the Pelicans rests on his shoulders but also prove to him that they’re willing to do whatever it takes to give him the necessary help he needs. If not, they will more than likely watch him bolt to another team the first chance he gets.