Three and a half months into the 2018/19 NBA season, and there's one question on everyone's minds: what's next for Anthony Davis?
Following a dramatically unexpected postseason run, the Pelicans were expected to make a significant amount of noise this season. It seemed like, at last, the Pels finally had something they could build on. It seemed like they were finally ready to take Anthony Davis past the second round of the playoffs.
At first, the team lived up to the hype. They came out blazing, boasting one the West's best records in the early season. It didn't take long for reality to set in, though, and soon the Pelicans found themselves reeling once again. They need to reset again, and they need a star young enough to help see them through it.
Where does that leave Anthony Davis? At 25-years old, nearing the final year of his contract, it'll leave him where it has for the past 7 years... nowhere. Except for this time, he's got all the leverage to work his way out.
So far the Lakers and Celtics have been linked to Davis' future and for good reason. Both squads are looking for their final Championship piece. Davis fits the bill. Where this goes wrong is on New Orleans side. No matter what either team offers up, the feeling that it's just not enough will be a hard one to shake.
Are Jayson Tatum, Lonzo Ball, Jaylen Brown, or Brandon Ingram true franchise changing cornerstones, or just really good stars? If you're in the majority, you'll say the latter.
Ben Simmons, though... that's a name that's got potential. And a name that makes a lot of sense for New Orleans. The Ringer's Bill Simmons recently made sense of the radical idea.
“It’s an intriguing basketball fit [for New Orleans] … You put him in Alvin Gentry‘s high-tempo offense, high-throtlle system. You can build around him Giannis Antetokounmpo-style … You’re trying to invest in forwards, wings and 3-and-D guys around Ben Simmons … With those guys [for Philly], they both have size and the ability inside on both sides of the floor.”
On The Hoop Collective, ESPN's Brian Windhorst did note that while it might be an awkward pairing, it'd be a deal worthy of consideration for both sides.
“Simmons is under contract, under control and also I know that he’s not exactly like Louisiana’s favorite son but he did go to LSU … Davis does not want to play center, he’d rather play power forward. I know it’s not the most ideal fit in history. But you start thinking about what they can do defensively?”
Finally, Zach Lowe chimed in to offer his view on the subject, pointing out that even though he doesn't believe it will happen, it's definitely a realistic scenario.
“Who are some players they would trade Ben Simmons for? … The one that you mentioned is one that makes sense … It’s only realistic because of A.D.’s contractual situation … Both teams might have a phone call about it.”
Ben Simmons would provide New Orleans with everything they're looking for. He fits with the type of offense they run, he's still really young (younger than Davis) and he's got just enough potential to somewhat fill the hole Davis would leave behind.
Of course, for Philly, they'd go from being a good Eastern Conference team to easily being the favorites. They wouldn't have to worry about Ben Simmons' shooting woes and would no longer be a team stuck in the middle of the pack.
There are negatives, there are risks, but this type of deal makes almost too much sense. It's unlikely to happen, as GMs usually aren't this bold. But, at the very least, it's an idea they should consider.