Zion Williamson is the coveted prize of the 2019 NBA Draft, and it would be surprising to see New Orleans do anything other than select the Duke standout with the No. 1 overall pick.
But what about Davis? How does winning the lottery impact the likelihood of New Orleans trading Davis, and which teams are the frontrunners for the six-time All-Star when taking into account Tuesday’s results?
Davis seemed as good as gone until the pingpong balls bounced the Pelicans’ way despite them owning just a 6 percent chance of securing the top pick in the draft. Now, it’s fair to question whether New Orleans’ new executive vice president of basketball operations, David Griffin, can convince Davis to stay in the hopes of building around him and Williamson for the foreseeable future.
BookMaker.eu released updated odds after Tuesday’s lottery for where Davis will play his first game of the 2019-20 season. The Pelicans previously were +800 (8/1) to keep Davis, but their odds increased to +400 (4/1) after their stunning lottery victory.
That said, the Pelicans still aren’t the favorites. That honor instead belongs to the Boston Celtics at +180 (9/5), followed by the Los Angeles Lakers at +200 (2/1). Both the Celtics and the Lakers have long been linked to Davis in trade rumors.
Here’s a look at the odds immediately following the lottery, courtesy of BookMaker.eu:
Boston Celtics +180 (9/5)
Los Angeles Lakers +200 (2/1)
New Orleans Pelicans +400 (4/1)
Philadelphia 76ers +1500 (15/1)
New York Knicks +1700 (17/1)
Field (any other team) +280 (14/5)
The Celtics seemingly dodged a bullet Tuesday night when the Memphis Grizzlies jumped into the top eight. They’ll now own Memphis’ first-round pick in 2020 (top-six protected) or 2021 (unprotected), although the Grizzlies landing the No. 2 overall pick in 2019 increases the chances of them drafting a legitimate superstar who could turn around the franchise sooner than anticipated. Boston owns the Nos. 14, 20 and 22 picks in this year’s draft.
The Lakers, meanwhile, walked away with the No. 4 pick, jumping up from their expected spot at No. 11. That selection could be enticing to the Pelicans should New Orleans ultimately trade Davis.
It’s worth noting two other ingredients to this whole thing: Kyrie Irving can opt out of his contract with the Celtics and become a free agent, casting uncertainty over Boston’s offseason plans, especially as they relate to Davis. And LeBron James still resides with the Lakers, which could convince Los Angeles to go all-in for Davis (or another star) rather than keep the No. 4 pick.