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Knicks highly motivated to trade for Anthony Davis

2019-05-15

Will the Knicks be able to trade the No. 3 pick in a package for Anthony Davis?

According to sources who’ve spoken to members of the team’s front office, the Knicks are highly motivated to land Davis in a deal and envision him teaming up with Kevin Durant. The Knicks missed out on the top spot at Tuesday night’s lottery and will pick third in the draft.

The New Orleans Pelicans won the draft lottery on Tuesday night, potentially giving them a Davis-Zion Williamson frontcourt pairing. The Athletic had reported that the Knicks had already decided to trade Williamson for Davis if they won the lottery, but the Pelicans own the No. 1 pick now.

Anthony Davis (Tyler Kaufman/AP)

One thing to keep in mind, however: despite reports to the contrary, the Pelicans are not fans of Kevin Knox, according to a source. That could make it harder for the Knicks to put together an offer to beat Boston, the Lakers or other suitors. Tuesday night could have gone worse, though, as the No. 3 pick is a valuable starting point for any deal.

The best trade chip on the Knicks roster is Mitchell Robinson.

The Knicks can actually sign two max free agents — i.e. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant — and trade for Davis. But it’s complicated. In order to have enough space, the Knicks would have to use their draft pick, sign the player (likely Duke’s RJ Barrett) and wait 30 days to trade him for Davis.

Under that scenario, the Knicks couldn’t trade for Davis until August — and maybe the Pelicans don’t want to wait that long with other offers on the table. Otherwise, the Knicks can trade their No. 1 pick before or during the draft next month and then sign a max free agent on July 1. That also would require confidence from the Knicks that Durant is coming.

Davis will be an unrestricted free agent in 2020 but the belief is that he’ll re-sign with the Knicks if traded there.