Storyline: Anthony Davis Trade?

19 rumors in this storyline

2 months ago via ESPN
If Anthony Davis becomes available — and the Celtics’ eyes are very much trained on him — Boston could throw together a package more compelling than just about anyone else’s. Irving would be an indirect part of that package. The NBA’s superstar class respects his ballsy showman’s game. (Ainge has long liked Irving more than most of his peers for some of the same reasons, sources say.)

More Rumors in this Storyline

Davis said that he spoke with his agent, Thaddeus Foucher, and Pelicans general manager Dell Demps about the rumors earlier in the offseason and he was assured that there was nothing to worry about. “I understand it’s a business, but if I don’t hear anything from Dell or my agent, I don’t pay attention to it,” said Davis, who averaged 28 points and 11.8 rebounds in 2016-17. “Once I first heard (the rumors), then I heard it again, then I heard it again, I just wanted to make sure. I found out it wasn’t (true), and that was the beginning of the summer, so I haven’t paid attention to it since.”

Mannix said the Celtics have the capability of putting together a hard-to-turn-down offer, especially if the lottery luck continues with the Nets and Lakers picks the C’s own. “If you’re the Pelicans, they’re going to be very few offers that make you pause for Anthony Davis,” Mannix said. “Spin it forward to next June and the let’s say ping-pong balls fall Boston’s way. The Nets are bad, let’s say they’re number one. The Lakers land in the two through five range. Let’s say they wind up at three. “One and three and Jayson Tatum?” Mannix theorized. “That’s going to be hard for New Orleans to turn down.”

“It’s reasonable to think that he will want out and that his people will start pressing to get him out,” Beck said. “If you’re the Boston Celtics and you’re still sitting on that cache of picks and players, you are sitting so perfectly to make that kind of deal. Arguably, given Anthony Davis’ talent and his age, this should be the best package we’ve seen in, I don’t know, decades. It should be the kind of package that blows you away. The kind of package people thought they wanted to see Boston do for Paul George or Jimmy Butler.

It figures to be an interesting season in Boston. The addition of Gordon Hayward fortified a top-seeded roster, while dismal seasons by the Nets (who will fork over their 2018 first-round pick) and Lakers (who owe Boston their ’18 pick if it falls between Nos. 2 and 5) will help the Celtics continue to build for the future. In addition, rival executives expect Boston to be keeping close tabs on New Orleans, which is entering a critical season. The Pelicans are committed to seeing if an Anthony Davis-DeMarcus Cousins frontcourt can work, but if the season goes awry, it’s widely believed the Celtics will make a strong run at Davis, who is under contract through 2020.

New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry laughed at those who would believe they might pry AD away from NOLA. “No,” said Gentry. “Let me tell you, I learned a long time ago — and this is my 28th year in the league — that you don’t trade great for good, no matter how many you get. Having one great player really makes your team better than having three good players. And they’ve proven that. I can go all the way back to the Charles Barkley trade (from Philadelphia to Phoenix for Jeff Hornacek, Andrew Lang and Tim Perry) and the Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar) trade (from Milwaukee with Walt Wesley to the Lakers for Dave Meyers, Junior Bridgeman, Brian Winters and Len Elmore).

“Obviously it’s a franchise-defining moment really,” said Gentry, who signed on with the Pelicans after winning a ring as an assistant coach with the Warriors in 2015. “You get one of the five best players in the league, in my opinion, for sure who’s saying that ‘I want to be in New Orleans.’ He could have easily waited and become a free agent. He’s saying he wants to be in New Orleans, and he sees a future there. Now, I think, for us, we’ve just got to surround him with the proper people, because he’s locked in. He wants to have success and he wants to win and he wants to be able to do it in New Orleans. I think that says a lot for our franchise, and it says a lot about him.”

It says that he wasn’t going with the trend that has seen stars sign on to create a wagon (LeBron James and Chris Bosh to Miami) or join one (Kevin Durant to Golden State). “I think he’s a little bit different in that respect,” said Gentry of Davis. “I’m telling you, he’s a loyal, loyal guy. He’s a very loyal guy, He’s just a treat to coach, because you can coach him just like you coach anybody else, and he accepts that. And the thing for me that’s so defining about him is that, when we lose, he always looks at himself first and says, ‘What could I have done better? How could I help us win?’ He’ll even text me and say, ‘What should I have done better tonight?’ To be able to have a guy in a situation like that that you’re able to coach, you might be lucky to have a guy like that once.”

Around Davis, those inquiring about potential displeasure – even as far as a potential trade – are met by a strong-willed, loyal star committed to the franchise. “My desire to win here is the same,” Davis told The Vertical. “I go out there and play. I don’t care what the record is. I just go out there and play. I have to lead this team and make sure my guys are always happy and high energy. I don’t care what people say about our team. They’re not in our locker room seeing us, not part of our group. That’s all white noise. I just try to control what I can: go out there and compete.”

But I’m told the Celtics at this point are only interested in potential “game changers” on the trade market. One name to keep an eye on is New Orleans’ Anthony Davis. The only way Davis will come into play is if Davis wants out, something that isn’t that far-fetched when you consider the steady run of injuries he’s enduring on a team that’s going nowhere fast. The Celtics have draft picks galore, young talent with very team-friendly contracts and being in the East, that would mean the Pelicans would only see Davis twice a season.
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