Oh God No, Please Don’t Let This Happen

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

If the 2018 NBA Finals bored you to tears, you’d better start making plans for the first week of June 2021.

Should he opt out of the final year of his contract, Anthony Davis will be a free agent in 2020.

And guess who’s already considering ways to fit the superstar big man onto their talent-laden roster.

From The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami, who also hinted at this story in January:

Are the Warriors still targeting New Orleans center Anthony Davis? Sure. Lacob and Myers love to circle the best names possible years in advance of their potential availability, and figure out how they might be able to land the biggest fish out there.

It used to be Kevin Durant. Now the Warriors’ biggest target is Davis, and they understand that their clearest way to get him was to sacrifice several big parts of their foundation — maybe Klay Thompson and/or Draymond Green — in a trade.

How can the Warriors get Anthony Davis?

A trade before 2020 feels unlikely.

Mostly because it’d require the cooperation of the Pelicans, who don’t seem a forward-thinking enough franchise to voluntarily surrender the best player in the team’s history before they have to. Making matters more difficult: Any Warriors first-rounder is guaranteed to hover close to No. 30.

But what Golden State can do is position themselves as his destination once Davis can bolt New Orleans, if he so chooses. 

For example, if Golden State can convince Kevin Durant this offseason to sign a three-year deal, with a player option for the third, the team can sign Davis in 2020, then go over the cap to pay Durant, depending on how they treat other assets.

That’d likely come at the cost of Draymond Green or Klay Thompson, maybe both.

Green will be a free agent in 2020. Thompson will be one next year. The team’s said they’re committed to signing them to extensions, though Thompson’s agreeing to an extension this summer would shrink the potential of his next contract from around $188 million to $102 million, so don’t expect to see him sign anything until he hits the market.

Even if Durant signs a five-year max this offseason, the Warriors could execute a Chris Paul-style opt-in-and-trade for the Pelicans big man in 2020. This is the most likely solution to Davis’ joining the Warriors; the exchange would also probably cost the team Thompson and/or Draymond.

It sounds like an unlikely nightmare, but at one point, so did Golden State’s signing Durant.