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Report: Anthony Davis’ free agent decision not about supermax money

The rumors of Anthony Davis being traded from the Pelicans to the Celtics or Lakers are the top storylines in the NBA, but there's nothing to them until Davis turns down the Pelicans' offer.

Every time you read an “it’s not about the money” story, don’t just take it with a grain of salt, pull down the full box of Morton’s Kosher salt and use that. Money always matters. With that disclaimer...

This July 1 the New Orleans Pelicans are going to make their bid to keep Anthony Davis by offering him a designated veteran supermax contract extension just shy of $240 million.

Davis’ decision is not going to be about the money, reports Sam Amick of The Athletic.

According to a source with knowledge of Davis’ thinking, he does not see the extra $87.3 million that New Orleans is expected to offer in a five-year, $239.5 million supermax extension this summer as a factor in his eventual decision.

If that’s the only chip [The Pelicans} have in this game of AD poker, in other words, then they’re bound to bust.

Here is what I know to be true about that statement: Davis is thinking about winning and about his place in the game. One of the game’s true elite, franchise cornerstone players, he has been to the playoffs just twice and won one series, which happened last season against the Trail Blazers. However, the Pelicans’ second-round series against the Warriors showed Davis and the franchise how far they are from contending.

Davis knows he’s entering his prime, he wants to win, he’s starting to think about his legacy.

But if you think he doesn’t care about the $87.3 million, well, you splurged for the expensive single malts before reading this because you’re drunk. Money absolutely factors into this.

Which one matters more to Davis — winning and plenty of money, or less winning but a whole lot more money — is the question.

The Lakers would like to push to get the Pelicans talking trade right now, at the deadline, because the Celtics are not in play. The NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement doesn’t allow teams to trade for two Rose Rule rookies on their roster and they already have one in Kyrie Irving, who they want to pair with Davis. So Boston is out until July. (Note: Teams can have two Rose Rule rookies on the roster — meaning they can get 30 percent of the salary cap, not 25 percent as the max — as long as they drafted at least of one of them. Just can’t trade for two.)

The Pelicans are not playing the Lakers’ game. I have heard from sources repeatedly and emphatically that the Pelicans are not trading Davis this season. New Orleans GM Dell Demps is a very active buyer in the trade market right now trying to get players to pair with Davis (he was in on the Jimmy Butler sweepstakes). Then in July the Pelicans will put the big check on the table and make their pitch.

Then we will see what does matter to Davis most.