The Anthony Davis trade rumors have dominated the headlines in the sports world over the last week, even overtaking the Super Bowl as the main topic of discussion in the days leading up to the NFL’s championship game. Several teams are looking to acquire the NBA’s best big man, who has asked to be dealt and seems almost certain to be wearing a new uniform before the start of next season.

The New Orleans Pelicans know they have to make sure not to lose their franchise player for nothing as a free agent in the summer of 2020. The Los Angeles Lakers desperately want to pair Davis with LeBron James, and they can offer the Pelicans a slew of young players in addition to future drafts picks.

The Boston Celtics have been preparing to trade for Davis for some time, but an NBA rule won’t allow Davis and Kyrie Irving to be on the same until one of them signs a new contract in the offseason. Los Angeles is hoping to get a deal done with New Orleans before the Feb. 7 trade deadline while the Celtics can’t get in on the bidding.

There have been various reports regarding what the Lakers have offered the Pelicans. The general consensus is that Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and probably multiple future first-round picks would have to be included in a package that New Orleans would consider accepting.

But even that offer doesn’t seem like a no-brainer for the Pelicans. It’s why a deal between the Lakers and Pelicans probably won’t happen within the next few days.

New Orleans’ best chance of getting the most value for Davis is to wait until the summer when Boston can make an offer. With four potential first-round picks in the 2019 NBA Draft, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum in Boston general manager Danny Ainge’s war chest of assets, the Celtics can likely trump any offer that the Lakers would make.

Anthony Davis Pelicans Lakers
Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans goes for a rebound between Brandon Ingram #14 and Kyle Kuzma #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Staples Center on December 21, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. Harry How/Getty Images

It’s hard to believe that the Lakers would lower their offer to the Pelicans this summer. Unless he suffers a career-threatening injury, Davis will still be among the NBA’s top stars this offseason. Los Angeles knows they can re-sign Davis to a long-term contract, so it won’t matter to them that the 25-year-old will be entering the final year of his contract.

The New York Knicks could also emerge as a suitor for Davis in a few months. New Orleans already rejected an offer centered around Kristaps Porzingis, before he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks.

What if the Knicks win the lottery in May, or get the No.2 overall pick? New York’s potential offer of a top draft pick, Kevin Knox and Dennis Smith Jr. might be more desirable to New Orleans than what Los Angeles has offered. The Knicks currently have a 14 percent chance to win the lottery for a shot at drafting Zion Williamson, who is the most sought-after prospect since Davis entered the league seven years ago.

There is some risk in New Orleans waiting until the summer to trade Davis. Offers from teams like the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors that are expected to make plays for Davis before the deadline might not be there in a couple of months. Maybe Boston won’t put Tatum on the table because they fear Davis will bolt as a free agent in 2020. The Knicks could fail to get a top-three pick, eliminating them as a realistic trade partner for the Pelicans.

New Orleans reportedly isn’t in a rush to trade Davis, and nor should they be. He’s going to be one of the greatest players in NBA history to be dealt, and the Pelicans will surely have plenty of competitive offers to consider long after this week’s trade deadline.