NBA reporter Jackie McMullan sparked huge reactions Friday when she said that Pelicans owner Gayle Benson would trade Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers only “over her dead body.”
Appearing on Brian Windhorst’s Hoop Collective podcast, McMullan announced: “We have been told, I think, through channels — most of us have heard this same scuttlebutt — that Gayle Benson has basically told him, ‘To the Lakers, over my dead body.’”
Shortly after McMullan’s statement went viral, Fletcher Mackel of NBC New Orleans took to Twitter and denied the rumors. He also noted that he had asked Benson to clarify the statement . She reportedly laughed and told him the original report was “totally absurd” and “completely untrue.”
According to Mackel, the Pelicans believe the same people saying the owner won’t trade Davis to the Lakers are the ones telling media members Zion Williamson might not want to go play in New Orleans after the team won the first pick in the 2019 draft.
“Many in the Pelicans organization believe this sloppy, incorrect reporting is coming from the same people who said Zion may not want to come to New Orleans.
That story/narrative was completely untrue and I’m told so is this Gayle “over my dead body” story,” Mackel wrote on Twitter.
Davis in many occasions has indicated that he wants to be traded, but if he’s to end up with the Lakers it’s going to be an uphill battle for him. Just recently, Davis confirmed that he still wants out of New Orleans, even as his team landed the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft. He’s under contract with the Pelicans until the 2020 offseason.
Having Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart on the team, the Lakers can still make a compelling enough offer to provide meaningful leverage for New Orleans.
David Griffin took over as the Pelicans’ executive vice president of basketball operations last month and is overseeing the Davis trade talks. As one of the most well-regarded executives in basketball, he is doing everything he can to make the best deal. If he thinks that the Lakers can make the most compelling offer, he will go to Benson and argue as much.