A generational talent like Davis rarely becomes available in trade, so the suitors are expected to be lining up to acquire his services. Early contenders to land the 25-year-old emerged late Monday night, with The Ringer‘s Kevin O’Connor reporting the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Milwaukee Bucks, and Toronto Raptors are expected to make offers. The Boston Celtics figure to be another major player in the sweepstakes, but they cannot pull off a trade until the summer, unless Kyrie Irving is also moved.
On paper, it seems like the Raptors have enough to put together a compelling package. Pascal Siakam, the emerging star who has a legitimate chance of winning the NBA’s Most Improved Player award, figures to be the starting point in negotiations. OG Anunoby is an additional young piece with intriguing potential, and point guard Delon Wright would be another name to float along. Draft-pick considerations would also likely be included as the Pelicans look to the future, and Toronto has veterans like Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas that would need to be added to balance salaries — a necessity in NBA trades.
Pairing Davis with Kawhi Leonard would give the Raptors one of the best one-two punches in the entire NBA, and would instantly make them the heavy favourite to win the Eastern Conference. If Leonard decides to sign elsewhere in free agency this summer, Davis remains under contract through 2019-20, keeping Toronto’s window of contention open for another year. In addition, should Davis make it clear he doesn’t intend to sign with the Raptors long-term, the team could hypothetically look to flip him at next year’s trade deadline.
The Raptors have never been as big a title threat as they are this season. They made a big gamble by trading DeMar DeRozan for Leonard last off-season, and it sounds like Masai Ujiri and the front office are at least thinking about pushing even more chips into the centre of the table.