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Anthony Davis trade destinations: Lakers, Celtics, Sixers and 2 teams you might not expect

Anthony Davis trade destinations: Lakers, Celtics, Sixers and 2 teams you might not expect

The inevitable happened on Monday morning. We all knew it was coming and probably could have predicted it would be sometime in the lead-up to the 2019 trade deadline on Feb. 7. Anthony Davis wants out of New Orleans, and now it's official. 

His agent, Rich Paul, even released a public statement to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, saying "Anthony wanted to be honest and clear with his intentions." Those intentions include not signing a contract extension with New Orleans and the goal of joining a contender.

After years of speculation about where Davis would go when the light dimmed in New Orleans, soon we will find out. And once he does get traded, it will be among the most consequential moves in NBA history.

ESPN's Zach Lowe said it might be the most important trade since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar went from the Bucks to the Lakers in 1975. Ponder that for a few seconds, and it's hard to strongly disagree. 

Kawhi Leonard, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard and Charles Barkley come to mind. Allen Iverson was a bigger star than Davis when he got sent to the Nuggets, but he was in his 30s by then. Same with Shaquille O'Neal when he went from L.A. to Miami. 

O'Neal very quickly led the Heat to a championship, of course. But Davis could very well put his next team into title contention in the near future, depending on where he goes.

Bar arguments aside, a Davis deal would be massive. He is well on his way to a fourth All-NBA selection, averaging 29.3 points, 13.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 2.6 blocks and 1.7 steals per game. He is only 25 and on a team-friendly deal in this era of supermax contracts, making $25.4 million this season and $27.1 million the next. He is technically under contract for 2020-21 as well, for $28.8 million, but it's a player option.

Trading for Davis would ultimately require a lot of money for his next team to keep him. But unlike Leonard and Paul George, a deal done now would give teams more than one season with him to figure it out and convince him to stay.

The dots are already being connected for the most obvious teams. The LeBron James-led Lakers could theoretically toss together a package of young prospects -- like Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma -- and use Kentavious Caldwell-Pope's contract to match the money. The Celtics could center a deal around Jayson Tatum with a collection of picks and guys like Marcus Smart and Marcus Morris to balance the salaries.

The Celtics, though, would have to wait until July 1 due to a provision in the CBA preventing teams from trading for two players with designated player extensions. That puts their interest on hold, but it doesn't entirely rule them out. All they really have to do is hope Davis goes nowhere between now and Feb. 7.

The Sixers have also been thrown out there because of Ben Simmons, who is good enough to be the centerpiece of a deal for Davis, and Philly's clear willingness to make bold moves. He would be traded to the state where he played college ball, much like Victor Oladipo did with Indiana.

There is also a group of teams that could load up the truck with assets for Davis, but would have nothing left to build around him. Those would include the Knicks, Bulls and Heat.

Those reading this in the Washington area may be scanning for a scenario that involves the Wizards. The truth is, it's not all that crazy to think they could make a competitive offer. But any such deal would require Bradley Beal for it to be in any way realistic.

Beal, 25, looks likely to be named a two-time All-Star this week. He, like Davis, is under team control through 2020-21 and on a reasonable deal. He is due to make about $55.9 million the next two years and 2020-21 isn't a player option.

If the Wizards attached a first-round pick plus, say Troy Brown Jr., that is by no means laughable, especially if the Pelicans do what most teams have done in this scenario and trade their star to the other conference. It would just require a lot of things to go their way to work out.

Davis would have to be sold on playing with Otto Porter Jr. in the short-term, and Porter and John Wall next season to consider re-signing. Wall is recovering from serious surgery on his left heel. In theory, he could play very well with Davis, but his injury offers some unknowns.

The Wizards would have to take a risk in a deal for Davis, not knowing whether he would sign beyond next season. Giving up Beal and/or first-round picks would mortgage the future for a guy who could leave in a year-and-a-half. 

That gamble, however, worked out for the Thunder with George and is paying dividends for the Raptors with Leonard. And both of those guys were for one year at the time. If a Davis experiment didn't work out, and the Wizards could sense it before next year's trade deadline, they would have the most valuable trade chip in the game.

The Wizards, however, have not really been in the mix with superstar trades before. They were linked to George and Leonard in trade rumors but never as serious suitors. Maybe Davis is the exception, but it would require them to be much more aggressive than they have been in recent years.

One team no one seems to be linking to Davis that makes sense is the Phoenix Suns. Though they are one of the worst teams in the NBA and wouldn't give him the opportunity to win this season, they have more young assets than most and could pair Davis with Devin Booker, a 22-year-old guard with obvious star potential.

Booker would be the best perimeter player Davis has ever run with. They could form a tandem that very soon could rank among the best in the league.

The Suns could center a deal around 2018 first overall pick Deandre Ayton. They could add T.J. Warren and Josh Jackson, making the money match while giving New Orleans three young players with varying degrees of upside.

The Suns would be left with Davis, Booker and a still-stocked cupboard of young players, like Mikal Bridges and Kelly Oubre Jr., plus cap room to add more this summer. If they could somehow hold onto their 2019 first round pick, they could be set up to be very good and very soon. 

Even if they gave up the 2019 pick, it could be worth it. And the Pelicans would have a nice haul highlighted by Ayton and what could turn into Zion Williamson or R.J. Barrett.

All that said, the Lakers and Celtics still seem like the favorites. They have assets and offer guarantees of winning immediately. 

No one knows where Davis will go, but after Monday's news, it seems like a lock he will be going somewhere and soon.

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Bradley Beal's 2019-20 season another reminder we still don't know how good he can be

Bradley Beal's 2019-20 season another reminder we still don't know how good he can be

Bradley Beal's career has followed a sort of incremental, but consistent upward trajectory that has made it difficult to get an accurate read on his stature as an NBA player.

He began his career hobbled by injuries, which helped make his subsequent rise as a star fly under the radar, despite him entering the league as the No. 3 overall pick. And in each of the past five seasons, he has taken a significant leap forward in his improvement.

That has produced this effect where every time you think you have an idea of what Beal is, he proves you wrong by getting even better or by adding something to his game. That has led Beal to essentially be underrated in perpetuity. You can't properly rate him because once you do, he does something to throw your assessment of him out the window.

The 2019-20 season was yet another example. He had already established himself as a multi-time All-Star. Many probably thought that was going to be it, that he would plateau.

But then he went out and averaged 30.5 points per game, second in the NBA and first in the Eastern Conference. He did that while averaging a career-high of 6.1 assists and while carrying a 52.0 effective field goal percentage.

Beal scored with efficiency and filled up the box score. He is as well-rounded an offensive player as you will find the NBA. 

Ironically, he wasn't named an All-Star this season, yet the numbers he put up were beyond the average All-Star. He took another major step, even if the league didn't recognize him for it.

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If we have learned anything about Beal during his eight NBA seasons, it's that we should probably expect him to keep going, to keep getting better, to next year be a noticeably different player. He also has league history on his side.

Two years ago, Hoops Hype published some fascinating research on the average prime age of NBA stars. They found that the average All-NBA player was 27.7 years old. Beal just finished his Age 26 season. He turned 27 in June. That means he could just be entering his prime with his best years still ahead of him.

There are, of course, no guarantees, as Beal should realize watching his teammate John Wall the past three years. Wall also had his best statistical season at Age 26, but his Age 27, 28 and 29 seasons have been decimated by injuries. The saddest part has been the timing.

RELATED: BRADLEY BEAL OPTS OUT OF ORLANDO BUBBLE

But assuming Beal can stay healthy, as he has been able to in recent years, we now arrive at a familiar question: what actually is his ceiling? That has been a moving target for years at this point and Beal keeps making it more and more difficult to answer.

Statistically, it's hard to imagine Beal doing much more than he did this past season, aside from raising his three-point percentage from 35.3, which was down from his career mark of 38.0. But there are always more levels to reach.

Beal has been an All-Star twice now, but has yet to make All-NBA. He has also yet to enter the MVP conversation. He is still looking up at the NBA's best players like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard, with a lack of team success not helping his cause.

If the Wizards became true contenders, a lot of those things would likely take care of themselves. But in absence of a major team improvement, Beal can arguably reach new heights by doing two things: taking over more games and assuming a larger role defensively.

Those two areas are also relative to team success. To take over in the fourth quarter and lead your team to victory, your team first needs to put itself in that position. Beal gets far fewer opportunities than some of his peers on better teams. But if he takes advantage of those moments when they are presented, it could have a major effect on the Wizards' record.

When it comes to defense, Beal has to sacrifice something to carry his outsized role on offense. If the Wizards were better and he had more help with scoring, maybe he would have the energy to guard the other team's best player on the other end.

The very best players in the NBA are two-way players. That goes for current times and throughout history. All the greats were also good on defense.

The truth is that it's hard to decipher what Beal can do to make another significant leap. His game is so well-rounded now that it is hard to pick apart. And, as history has shown us, it's a fool's errand trying to categorize his abilities. You know he's probably going to just raise the bar again, just like he did this season.

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Top NBA player reactions so far from inside the Orlando bubble

Top NBA player reactions so far from inside the Orlando bubble

Welcome to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando -- also known as the bubble. 

This site is currently home to 22 NBA teams who will be participating in the NBA's restart amidst the coronavirus pandemic. All teams have arrived or will arrive, in Orlando by the end of Thursday.

As players, coaches, and team employees embark on this new life inside of the bubble, it's only imminent that they'll take to social media to share the experience with the public. 

Here are the best reactions from inside the bubble so far.

Wizards forward, Admiral Schofield committed a rookie mistake by leaving his HDMI cord back at home. How else is he supposed to play Call of Duty Warzone?

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Luckily, after some undisclosed negotiations, Schofield came out on the winning side. 

Brooklyn Nets point guard Chris Chiozza and  Denver Nuggets shooting guard Troy Daniels both took fans behind the curtain of what the food accommodations were like and NBA Twitter had a field day making fun of it. 

Los Angeles Clippers point guard Patrick Beverly is looking out for any players that might've under packed for the bubble, we think. 

RELATED: MOE WAGNER TO WEAR 'VOTE' ON BACK OF JERSEY

Wizards small forward, Troy Brown Jr. has recently started streaming his PS4 gameplay, now he's teasing the possibility of a vlog series? NBA plater or YouTuber? We'll take both.

Orlando Magic shooting guard, and Davis Bertans hater, Evan Fournier gave the public a tour of the resort he and his team will be staying in during their time at home.

Nice accommodations if we're being honest.

This tweet from Wizards shooting guard Jerome Robinson may not particularly be bubble related, but he definitely poses a great question. 

Lastly, Memphis Grizzlies power forward Jaren Jackson knows the team has a good chance of making the postseason this year. With that being said, he left the fans with this simple Spongebob meme. 

The bubble, enjoy.

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