Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin tried to sell Anthony Davis on staying in New Orleans. The franchise had a supermax contract to offer, plus the chance to play alongside veteran guard Jrue Holiday and an exciting young prospect in Zion Williamson, the assumed No. 1 pick in this year’s NBA Draft.But Davis was never going to budge. Even Dr. Stephen Strange couldn’t have offered an alternate future in which the 26-year-old rescinded his trade demand. So here we are, just one week before the draft with one of the NBA’s top players still waiting to land on a new team. After canvassing the league, it appears Griffin has narrowed the field of suitors with a clear favorite emerging for Davis’ services.After a flurry of rumors and speculation, here’s a closer look at the three teams most involved in the Davis sweepstakes. (The Nets and Clippers are out at the moment. They have failed to “gather traction in conversations with New Orleans,” according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.)TRADE RUMORS: Could Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma hold up Davis deal?Anthony Davis trade rumors: Lakers in the leadLos Angeles is not expected to be the frontrunner for any elite free agents when the ball drops on June 30. That makes Davis priority No. 1 for a Lakers team hoping to maximize the end of LeBron James’ prime.Fortunately for the Lakers, they have made progress in trade talks with the Pelicans and are currently in the best position among the interested teams. However, there is one important factor that could determine whether a trade is completed: How many assets are the Lakers willing to give up?Los Angeles and New Orleans have a “framework” in place for a deal, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, but the specifics haven’t been ironed out just yet. The Pelicans would prefer to flip the Lakers’ No. 4 pick to acquire an All-Star caliber player. It’s clear Griffin isn’t excited by the idea of a full teardown and 76ers-like rebuild.Love when we play the breaking news music on #TheJump! The war for Anthony Davis is on between the Lakers & Celtics; both teams negotiating with the Pelicans right now. @WindhorstESPN discusses the Lakers No. 4 pick being shopped around to other teams as part of a potential deal: pic.twitter.com/rI642JXRoZ— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) June 12, 2019Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram would likely head to New Orleans in this scenario, but Kyle Kuzma could be a sticking point. Tania Ganguli and Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that the Pelicans want Kuzma included in a Davis trade while the Lakers hope to avoid putting him in any package. Kuzma, who averaged 18.7 points per game in 2018-19, will turn 24 in July, so he has room to grow. He is also signed to a team-friendly contract.Kuzma shouldn’t ultimately prevent the Lakers from closing a deal, but playing a little hardball makes sense given they have leverage. Davis’ agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, recently told Sports Illustrated’s S.L. Price he isn’t simply trying to help out James, another Klutch client and close friend of Paul. But LA certainly sounds like the preferred option, and that looms large with Davis committed to testing free agency in 2020.”My thing is: Take LeBron off the Lakers,” Paul said. “Are the Lakers not a great destination for an arguably top-two player that went to Kentucky and won a national championship, signed with Nike? For a team that’s had centers from George Mikan to Wilt Chamberlain to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Shaq?”So now, when you add LeBron, that’s what? The cherry on top. LeBron’s 34 years old. Anthony Davis is 26. So when LeBron’s done playing, the Anthony Davis trade is still rolling.”Paul and Davis have seemingly been locked on the Lakers throughout this process, and that probably scared off a few other teams. LA’s top rival doesn’t fall into that group, though.Celtics remain undeterredThe Celtics ran into an unusual problem at the 2019 trade deadline. They couldn’t pair Davis with Kyrie Irving because of the “Rose Rule,” which prevented Boston from considering a Davis trade until the start of free agency. Now that we’re past the deadline, the Celtics are all set to send their offer to Griffin, right?Uh, it’s complicated. First of all, Paul is essentially standing outside of TD Garden with a neon sign that says, “DON’T DO IT.””[The Celtics] can trade for him, but it’ll be for one year,” Paul told SI. “I mean: If the Celtics traded for Anthony Davis, we would go there and we would abide by our contractual [obligations] and we would go into free agency in 2020. I’ve stated that to them. But in the event that he decides to walk away and you give away assets? Don’t blame Rich Paul.”Despite that bold proclamation, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, who has a strong relationship with Griffin dating back to their days with the Suns, apparently doesn’t mind jumping without a safety net.Per ESPN’s Zach Lowe:”Everything I have heard — and this is really interesting — is that Boston is not afraid. Boston is not afraid of Rich Paul coming out again in Sports Illustrated, saying ‘they can trade for him. It’s just gonna be for a year.’ Not afraid.”Then there’s Irving’s free agency. After a turbulent season in Boston, the six-time All-Star guard could head to the Nets or Knicks. He had previously discussed the possibility of joining Kevin Durant in either Brooklyn or New York, per Wojnarowski.But with Durant out for the entire 2019-20 season after rupturing his Achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, does Irving’s thinking change? Does Irving want to throw away a year of his prime on a non-contending team? Does anyone know what is going on in Irving’s brain at any given time?The Celtics would love to be on solid ground with Irving and know that, if Davis is in place, Irving will agree to a new contract. That alleviates some stress about losing rising youngsters as well as future draft picks.There is going to be risk involved here for the Celtics. Boston could lose Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and/or a pick that turns into a future star, then watch Davis leave later. Or Davis and Irving could dominate the Eastern Conference for the next half-decade.Ainge must determine whether the risk is worth the reward.Knicks fading fastAs the Pelicans’ conversations with the Lakers and Celtics accelerate, the Knicks are hitting the brakes.New York is “not really involved” in the Davis chase, per Windhorst. The Knicks are targeting RJ Barrett at No. 3 in the draft, and removing that pick from the equation all but eliminates them from contention. Paul mentioned New York’s cap space and flexibility as reasons why it’s a desirable destination for Davis, but some within the organization are “adamant” about not unloading assets in order to acquire Davis, according to SNY’s Ian Begley. For now — yes, things can always change quickly in the NBA — this is a two-horse race.🔸 Some within the Knicks organization want Kevin Durant despite the ruptured Achilles injury🔸 The Knicks remain unwilling to part with all of their assets for Anthony Davis, scared off by the Carmelo Anthony [email protected] on the Knicks’ pursuit of the two superstars: pic.twitter.com/9MfUmy7Rwi— SNY (@SNYtv) June 12, 2019Expect the Knicks to pursue Durant and potentially offer a four-year max deal. The Achilles injury will keep him off the floor next season, but New York can wait for its young group to develop, search for another star and allow Durant to become familiar with the culture.It’s still possible the Knicks land Durant and Irving this offseason, which would be a major coup for the franchise. Davis, though, isn’t part of their summer plans.