Pelicans owner Benson strongly refutes report centered on Davis, Lakers

Team owner Gayle Benson and the Pelicans may be looking to trade star big man Anthony Davis this summer.

New Orleans Pelicans owner Gayle Benson has denied a report that said she would only trade Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers “over my dead body,” as relayed by Fletcher Mackel of WDSU-TV.

The original report was aggregated by sites such as NBC’s Pro Basketball Talk, which attributed the quote ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan. It is believed MacMullan, a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, was merely paraphrasing.

But the Internet can turn things into gospel, and that appears to be what has happened here.

Mackelv reported that he asked Benson about the “over my dead body” report and she laughed — and then called the report “totally absurd” and “completely untrue.”

Mackel added: “Many in the Pelicans organization believe this sloppy, incorrect reporting is coming from the same people who said Zion Williamson may not want to come to New Orleans.”

Davis requested a trade in January and then Lakers were among the teams in hot pursuit. Despite the resignation of Magic Johnson as team president, LA is again going to make an effort to trade for Davis this offseason. The Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks are also likely to make a run.

New Pelicans basketball operations director David Griffin intends to try to convince Davis to stay in a meeting reportedly scheduled for next week. Should Davis stick to his trade request, it is believed the Pelicans will first reach out to the Celtics.

Davis can become an unrestricted free agent at the end of next season. The Pelicans are the only team that could offer him a supermax contract extension.

Benson is the widow of former Pelicans owner Tom Benson. She also owns the NFL’s New Orleans Saints.