Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis could be put up for trade by the Pelicans in the summer. In this picture, Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans looks on during the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, Jan. 9, 2019. Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Anthony Davis continues to be linked with a move away from New Orleans Pelicans, but with the trade deadline approaching fast – Feb. 7 – it is almost becoming clear that he is unlikely to move at least until the summer.

The power forward is contracted to the Pelicans until 2021 but can opt out of the final year of his deal and become a free agent in 2020. He will also become eligible for a supermax deal worth $239 million this summer and the Pelicans are expected to make the offer in order to keep their prized asset for the foreseeable future.

Davis is expected to reject the offer of a new deal as he is keen to join a team that will allow him a chance to challenge for the NBA championship. The rejection of the new deal is likely to see the Pelicans look to trade the forward rather than lose him as a free agent in 2020 when they will not be entitled to get anything in return.

Davis will not be short of suitors if put up for trade by the Pelicans with a number of teams pursuing the player considered to be among the top-3 in the NBA. The Los Angeles Lakers have been constantly linked with a move as have the Boston Celtics, who are his longtime admirers.

A former NBA executive believes the Celtics will be in the driving seat should Davis become available for trade as they have more to give the Pelicans in terms of young potential talent and draft picks. The Boston franchise could have as many as four draft picks come the summer and they have a roster filled with young talented players.

Jason Tatum is highly regarded in the NBA and the executive is certain that should he be part of the package, there is no doubt the Pelicans will pick the Celtics over other options. Another potential destination that has been named is the Philadelphia 76ers, who could offer Ben Simmons – the reigning Rookie of the Year.

“I’d say if the [Philadelphia 76ers offer Ben] Simmons, or with the [Boston] Celtics' package of picks and young players, the Lakers would probably be third," the former NBA executive said, as quoted by the Express. “One would think that [Pelicans general manager] Dell [Demps] would want a deal done around the draft [with Boston's picks]. After Simmons, I love Tatum. He'd have to be the deal-maker in the Anthony Davis sweepstakes."

“If he's in the package, AD to the Celtics. To each his own in the NBA, and certainly others would value differently, but on average, based upon body of work, I think the 30 teams would value Philadelphia/Boston talent over the Lakers,” he explained.

However, despite putting the Lakers third on the list, he believes Davis and LeBron James sharing the same agent along with 76ers’ Simmons could help the Lakers move up in the pecking order in the race for the Pelicans forward.

“If Rich Paul is trying to control [Davis' fate] until 2020 [when he's an unrestricted free agent], then likely Tatum isn't made available by Boston and the Lakers probably get it done,” he added. “That Paul also represents Ben Simmons has to help the Lakers too.”