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 was asked about some of the weirdest questions campers had for him, and he said one stuck out above them all. “I get asked all types of random stuff,” he said with smile. “The craziest (question) was if I was going to Boston.” Davis meant it as a joke, but he acknowledged that it was hard to ignore the amount of trade rumors this summer that have speculated about his potential departure from New Orleans.
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.”
Davis, who has played the first five years of his career with the Pelicans, made it clear that his desire is to stay in New Orleans. “I am happy here as a Pelican,” he said. “I am happy here.”
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.
Is a blockbuster, player-heavy deal in the offing? As of now, league sources told The Vertical that isn’t the case. Boston – everyone, really – would love to get its hands on Anthony Davis. But Davis is tied to a manageable contract through 2021, and the Pelicans appear committed to giving the Davis-DeMarcus Cousins pairing a full season together.
Struggles by the New Orleans Pelicans this season won’t affect Anthony Davis’ long-term commitment to the franchise, he said Thursday. “Look, I’m here. If I was thinking about leaving, I’d never re-sign [last summer]. I’m here to stay,” Davis told ESPN Radio’s Meet The All-Stars show that will air Saturday night (5:30 p.m. ET).
Struggles by the New Orleans Pelicans this season won’t impact Anthony Davis’ long-term commitment to the franchise, he said Thursday. “Look, I’m here. If I was thinking about leaving, I’d never re-sign [last summer]. I’m here to stay,” Davis told ESPN Radio’s “Meet The All-Stars” show that will air Saturday night (5:30 p.m. ET).
“I’m here to help this team win [and] put this franchise back on the map,” Davis said Thursday.
“I don’t plan on leaving, so make sure you write that down,” Davis said when asked about trade speculation.
Another questioner asked Davis about an Internet rumor speculating that he and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook could eventually join forces with the Lakers in Los Angeles, where his agent, Arn Tellem of Wasserman Media Group is based. “I don’t pay attention to (the rumors),” Davis said. “I don’t know who said it or how it came about. I’m with the Pelicans right now.”
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.
Storyline Hype Rumor visits per day for the last week
Views per day
December 13, 2017 | 11:34 am EST Update
If the team came to him with a trade, Gasol would accept it. “If they think it is best, I would do anything for this franchise,” Gasol says. Wallace and other higher-ups are adamant that is unlikely, even as the losses mount. That seems stubborn, and there is almost certainly a scenario — perhaps Conley getting reinjured, or taking longer than expected to return — where Memphis tests the market. But even in that doomsday sequence, the Grizzlies may even prefer to hold their stars out here and there in some selective tankery, nab a high draft pick, and reload for another run at 45-plus wins.
It is not bad enough for Gasol to ask out. It may never be. “I have a responsibility to this city,” Gasol says. “I’m not gonna quit, no matter what.” What if Memphis fell 30 games under .500? Gasol shakes his head. “I would want to see how we got there — what the process is,” Gasol says. “But as long as [owner] Robert [Pera] wants me here, my teammates want me here, they think I’m part of the solution — and not part of the problem — that’s all I need.” (Gasol still denies he asked for Fizdale to be fired, though the tension between them was real, sources say.)
Stefan Bondy: Knicks have to do something about their center situation by the deadline. They have four centers taking up roughly 40 percent of the cap space. In the last two games Hornacek had them all on the bench in the fourth quarter because, like the rest of the NBA, he went small.
There’s also the possibility Los Angeles moves him before the trade deadline to a team that’s looking to make a playoff push, but that feels unlikely for a few reasons. To start, whichever team traded for Caldwell-Pope would only receive his non-Bird Rights. Long story short, that means they’d likely need cap space to re-sign him over the summer, as the exception only allows four year deals up to 120 percent of the previous season’s salary with a five percent annual increase. Crazier things have happened, but it’s highly unlikely Caldwell-Pope’s market value won’t be higher, strengthening the likelihood of him being a mid-season rental more than a long-term investment. He also has a 15 percent trade kicker.
Caldwell-Pope is now on the Los Angeles Lakers, where he signed a one-year, $17.7 million deal. It feels like an uncomfortable stasis for a player in his fifth season, enduring his second contract year in a row. But the 24-year-old has yet to test the shortcomings of his game for the sake of his own individual growth or production, at the cost of his team’s success. Instead, he’s solely focused on finding ways to move L.A.’s needle in a positive way. His teammates respect that, understand how important he is, and recognize the partnership could end sooner than anyone wants it to. “If I put myself in his shoes, it’d just be tough to embrace everybody and kind of get into the whole team aspect knowing that next summer is another free agent year,” Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. told VICE Sports. “But he’s done a terrific job of being selfless and looking out for others.”
“When we made this deal, me and my agent, we discussed it multiple times,” Caldwell-Pope told VICE Sports. “We knew the risk we were taking. Nine times out of 10 I’d like to bet on myself. That’s what we did. It’s a one-year deal, and so far this season it’s been going well.” This is far from basketball purgatory, but it’s also not an obvious home. Caldwell-Pope doesn’t have a lot of time to fit in; for reasons we’ll get into later on, it’s more likely than not he’ll be in a different city next season. “There’s no benefit [to a one-year deal]. I’m up again next year,” he said. “I could be here, or be wherever I land.”
Adam Zagoria: I’m told by a source close to the situation that reports that Michael Porter Jr. could return in 4 weeks for Mizzou are inaccurate. No timetable on a return, but he is going through the rehab process. pic.twitter.com/R8vh43hZWr