Thanks to Anthony Davis, citizens of the United Kingdom and fans of the New Orleans Pelicans have a little more in common lately.
To many Brits (roughly half apparently), the prospect of the UK leaving the European Union creates a feeling of existential dread; perhaps only rivalled by the feelings of Pelicans fans right now contemplating life after Anthony Davis.
Of course both parties are also currently in a form of purgatory. Ahead of the March 29th deadline to leave the EU, everything in the UK (if you ignore tabloid headlines and the audiences of Question Time, and quite frankly – you should) seems to be business as usual.
Comparably, after a period of trying to force his way out of New Orleans ahead of the trade deadline, Anthony Davis is now back on the floor for the Pelicans. But this shouldn’t lull Pelicans fans into a false sense of security. Article Klutch Sports has been invoked, which can never be revoked.
“My teammates came to me and said they wanted me to play. I just love being back on the floor …”
—Anthony Davis after returning to the court for the first time since demanding a trade pic.twitter.com/dGusx0d4PZ
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 9, 2019
BROWXIT MEANS BROWXIT
From a UK perspective, the ultimate fear of course is that the country descends into anarchy. A lawless Mad Max style wasteland in which laws, supply chains and mutually reliant economies become meaningless.
As we saw in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (don’t pretend you haven’t seen it), the inevitable result of this scenario is a despotic Tina Turner ascending to becoming Britain’s overlord and changing the country’s name to Bartertown.
Of course I would never suggest that we might see Julius Randle taking the court wearing the bones of his opponents as trophies (that would be ridiculous). What I am suggesting is that Mel Gibson becomes our hypothetical saviour in this scenario and this is a slippery slope to a truly desperate situation…
Oh yeah, basketball.
The Bartertown Pelicans
You may think that with even the mere mention of Mel Gibson I am creating a true doomsday scenario here. But this is cutting edge basketball analysis.
There is so much uncertainty surrounding the future of the New Orleans Pelicans and their franchise player that the Pelicans have been taking (and probably continue to take behind the scenes) any and all calls to gauge what potential suitors are willing to part with to get their hands on a generational talent like Davis. The lives of Theresa May and the Pelican’s Front Office were (I imagine) very similar for the past few weeks.
The stakes for the Pelicans franchise are enormous. Many are even questioning the continued presence of the franchise in the city of New Orleans if Davis were to leave and were the team to go into a number of losing seasons without serious star power to bring fans in.
One of the possibilities that the Pelicans seemed to explore was that of a Hard Browxit. And by that I mean a more hardline approach. The team could have forced Davis to sit out of games. Protecting the player as an asset and ensuring their loses resulted in a higher chance of getting a good lottery pick. After all, Davis has made his intentions clear, that he fully intends to leave the team.
The NBA however, had other ideas, threatening to fine the team for games that Davis sat out. As one of the top players in the league, it is understandable that the league (who has a direct commercial interest in one of its biggest stars playing) wants to ensure Davis plays games. But there’s also the perspective eschewed by Jeff Van Gundy, speaking to USA Today:
“I think their owner, Gayle Benson, has missed out on an opportunity to take a stand for her team, and for all small-market teams in the NBA. Anthony Davis, one of the five best players in the NBA, publicly demanded a trade, and now the NBA is trying to bully her and threaten her with unduly harsh fines. And if I was her, I would say ‘I’ll pay the fine, but at the end of the day I’m going to do what’s best for my franchise. I’m not going to put him out there at risk for injury and reduce my lottery chances or my trade opportunities.’ I think the league is wrong. I think they should allow New Orleans to do exactly what is best for them, because everybody else is doing what’s best for themselves – Anthony Davis and the league.”
It seems that Hard Browxit is off the table. But even though Davis reportedly wants to be playing games – all is still not well.
Not a great night for Anthony Davis. 👀 pic.twitter.com/OeJEwfsoA7
— theScore (@theScore) February 13, 2019
Whether or not a deal is reached between the UK and the EU members, Britain will leave the European Union on March 29th. The same now seems true of Anthony Davis by the time the Summer rolls around.
For Pelicans fans, this is where the outlook looks rosier than their British counterparts. A no-deal Browxit quite definitively, will – not – happen from a Pelicans perspective. Anthony Davis will be traded.
What potential suitors need to be mindful of however, is whether they will be able to reach a (hypothetical) deal with Davis and his agent ahead of them giving up assets to acquire him that satisfies them that he will sign a new contract with that team.
Anthony Davis’ provided a list of teams that he is reportedly happy to re-sign with. The list includes the Knicks, Lakers and a ‘handful’ of other teams.
Beyond the Lakers and Knicks, the Pelicans have been made aware of “a handful” of teams that Anthony Davis would be willing to sign long-term with upon a trade, league sources tell ESPN. Boston isn’t included on that list.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 4, 2019
But this appears to be an en vogue trend right now. The Oklahoma City Thunder successfully convinced Paul George to re-sign with the team and the Toronto Raptors are currently embarking on a similarly bold path with Kawhi Leonard. But in neither case did those teams have to put in the level of investment required to prise away a healthy Anthony Davis.
Prior to the trade deadline, the Lakers were said to have offered Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley and two 1st round picks. The Pelicans were content and perhaps even confident that come the Summer they will receive an even stronger offer.
But would any team be bold enough to pull off a no-deal Browxit?
Taking Back Control
Surely to give up so much and with such a level of risk involved no one would really consider a no-deal Browxit. That would be madness. Surely there wouldn’t actually be anyone seriously discussing that kind of arrangement realistically right now. Would there?
Wait. What? You’re serious?
Why do I feel like we’re diving into a desperate situation in which no one really wins? All in on Browxit despite having no idea what it really means?
Are we even still talking about basketball?
Good day to you Bartertown Pelicans. Mel Gibson for Prime Minister.
Feature photo – USA Today / Derick E. Hingle / AP Photo / Paul Sancya / Double Clutch illustration