Earlier this month, the Pelicans and Anthony Davis himself firmly shot down rumors that he would be traded to the Celtics.
"Yeah, we'll trade him," Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry joked to the Boston Herald. "But they're going to have to give us the New England Patriots and the two planes that they just bought. And I don't think they're going to do that. So we're not even thinking about those kind of things."
This was, of course, before DeMarcus Cousins went down with a season-ending Achilles injury.
The Pelicans still seem to be in "just get to the playoffs" mode right now, but they're finding it hard to land a player who could even approach the effectiveness of a Cousins. This week they were extremely close to landing Nikola Mirotic from the Bulls, but Mirotic more or less nixed the deal - invoking his no-trade clause. This has to be extremely frustrating for Pelicans GM Dell Demps, as he couldn't even land a slightly above-average talent - even while he was willing to give up a first round pick (which GMs across the league are currently holding onto with a vise grip).
Maybe the Pelicans make some headway regarding a Mirotic deal over the weekend, but if not Demps may start to entertain a Davis deal again.
If the Pelicans' are being realists about their current situation, it's as good a bet as any that Cousins will flee via free agency this summer. They also have some major salary cap issues with seven fully guaranteed contracts on the books for 2018-19.
To get out of this financial mess that to this date has only shown mediocre results, Demps may soon want to do business on a Davis trade. The Celtics remain - by far - the best partner in a trade for the Pelicans to load up for a future. Nabbing a young, cheap offensive talent like Boston's Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown that could blossom into a legit All-Star as soon as next season, and being able to snag all of Boston's treasure chest of first round picks has to be enticing at this juncture.