More on Anthony Davis to Celtics?
Tom Westerholm: In a mid-game ESPN hit, Woj just said the Celtics are undeterred by Anthony Davis’ father’s take on things, and that the Pelicans haven’t heard anything so far that would dissuade them from waiting until after the season.
The father of New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis says he does not want his son to play for the Boston Celtics, if they were to try to acquire him via trade this summer. "I would never want my son to play for Boston after what they done to Isaiah Thomas," Anthony Davis Sr. told ESPN on Friday. "No loyalty. Guy gives his heart and soul and they traded him."
Davis Sr. clarified that this is solely his opinion, and he can't speak for his son. "This is just my opinion, not Anthony's," he said. "I've just seen things over the years with Boston and there's no loyalty."
Davis' camp has let it be known he doesn't consider the Celtics a long-term home because he doesn't believe Irving plans to re-sign with the Celtics next season, sources said. The New York Knicks' stunning salary-dump trade that moved out Porzingis on Thursday cleared enough salary-cap space for the team to chase both Kevin Durant and Irving in free agency.
Boston is investigating the asking price of a few intriguing young players around the league, perhaps with an eye on acquiring more of New Orleans' preferred trade chips, sources tell ESPN. That could simply be due diligence or the groundwork for something big in the near future.
According to a league source, the Celtics and Pelicans have not had trade discussions this week, but they have in the past, and New Orleans remains well aware of Boston’s interest in Davis as well as the treasure chest of assets it possesses.
With Boston prohibited from trading for Davis this season, going to the Lakers presents Davis a chance to make something of this 2018-19 season. The Celtics and other suitors are curious as to whether the potential Lakers-or-bust stance softens once the deadline passes, sources said.
This makes the situation incredibly complex for New Orleans and every other Davis suitor now, though. Everyone must evaluate: What will Boston offer? Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN: I think Boston has sent a message to the Pelicans: “Be patient. Wait for us. We are going to be in this, and we’re going to be willing to talk about essentially everyone on our roster outside Kyrie Irving.”
Woj expressed the Pelicans still hope to make it back to the postseason in 2018-19, as well, which factors into their being patient. However, the Boston Celtics’ interest in Davis has played a part in this, too. Although Danny Ainge and company can’t make an offer until the end of the season because of the “Rose Rule” Boston still has the best and largest group of assets to offer—which is something the Celtics have apparently made clear to the Pelicans.
Adrian Wojnarowski: “Essentially, having Boston in the bidding, who is the team with the most draft picks, several outstanding young players and a really motivated team to try to acquire Anthony Davis it only elevates everyone else’s offers in the trade process and Boston is going to be there. And I think, Boston has sent a message to the Pelicans, ‘Be patient. Wait for us, we are going to be in this and we’re going to be willing to talk about essentially everyone on our roster outside of Kyrie Irving.’ So, I think right now it’s put New Orleans very much in a holding pattern and it’s really dampened the possibility of the [Los Angeles] Lakers being able to do what they’d love to do, is get a deal done prior to the trade deadline. New Orleans has no interest in acquiescing Anthony Davis to the Lakers right now.”
When Anthony Davis’s camp made it clear this week that the All-Star did not intend to sign an extension with the Pelicans this summer and would like to be traded, it ignited what is sure to be a feeding frenzy that will likely last until summer, as teams feverishly look for ways to acquire one of the NBA’s transcendent talents. But according to multiple league sources, Boston has been diligently preparing for this scenario for months. During this time, the Celtics have made informal calls to the Pelicans, the sources said, understanding that New Orleans was in no hurry to trade its centerpiece, but making sure that if the time came where its hand was forced, Boston would be ready.
During the process, one source said, the Celtics even consulted with their current players to gauge their thoughts about teaming up with Davis. Davis’s friendship with Kyrie Irving has been well-documented, and the sense within the organization is that the presence of Irving can only help Boston if it trades for Davis without an assurance that he will re-sign after the 2019-20 season.
The timing of Davis’s request this week is certainly not ideal for the Celtics. A league rule forbids teams from acquiring multiple players who have signed designated rookie extensions, and Irving was the first. So the Celtics would have to wait until Irving opts out of his deal on July 1 to make a move, while most other teams can try to strike now, prior to next Thursday’s trade deadline. But if Davis remains in New Orleans after the deadline, league sources say, there is a growing belief around the league that the Celtics would become the favorites to land the superstar forward.
GM Danny Ainge is undeterred on making a trade for Davis, even without an assurance that he would agree to an extension with the Celtics, league sources said. Boston has been calling New Orleans for the past year-plus on Davis, and has gathered multiple first-round picks and young players to include in a package for him. Davis has a strong relationship with Irving, and Boston knows that trading for Davis would assuredly perish any possibility of Irving changing his mind and leaving the Celtics in free agency this summer.
Most league sources have long felt that the Celtics are favorites for Davis if this drama reaches the summer because of the combination of young players and draft assets they could put on the table. Jayson Tatum is arguably the best asset who will be available in a trade; and though Jaylen Brown struggled to start the season, he has surged lately and previously shined during the postseason.
Boston has a unique backchannel: Irving. Irving and Davis maintain a close friendship: “Kyrie and Anthony Davis are boys,” former NBA forward and NBC Sports Boston analyst Brian Scalabrine told The Crossover NBA podcast. “I think they text like every day.” Irving would be a powerful recruiter next summer.
Regarding team preferences, Boston is not a top target for Davis, sources said. There’s a growing belief of uncertainty that Kyrie Irving will not re-sign with Boston, sources said, even though he vowed to do so at the beginning of the season.
New Orleans plans to issue a statement later Monday, but officials are already privately expressing that the organization doesn't feel pressure to move Davis before the Feb. 7 trade deadline. Davis' declaration on wanting out now give teams other than the Boston Celtics a head start in pursuing trades for Davis. Restricted by the Designated Rookie Extension contract, Boston cannot trade for Davis until July 1 because Collective Bargaining rules wouldn't allow both Kyrie Irving's and Davis' contracts to be on a roster together under that provision. Irving becomes a free agent on July 1. Boston could agree to a Davis trade with New Orleans prior to July 1 and then finalize a trade after that date.
Chris Mannix: There’s really only one reason for AD’s agent to go public with a trade demand this early—to give the Lakers a head start on trade talks before Boston can get into the mix this summer. Why else risk AD spending the next few months as the villain?
Scott Kushner: Despite all of this, I still don't expect Davis to be moved at the upcoming trade deadline. I believe the Pelicans' best offer will come from the Celtics, who can't make a deal until this summer. But, GM Dell Demps at least has to listen to offers now.
Warriors. Anthony Davis. I'm throwing this out there, I'm not basing this on anything, but a sleeper team, Golden State for Anthony Davis. Chris Haynes: "That rumor's been around for some time, and I think Tim Kawakami of the Athletic in the Bay Area started the reporting on that. And I think there was something to that. I'll say this: I think things have changed a little bit now that Anthony Davis is repped by Rich Paul, who happens to be LeBron James' agent. So I think [those rumors] had more juice this time last year, to go in that direction. I would be surprised if Golden State would be able to enter the field... to picking up AD. I think the Lakers have a legitimate shot. I think Boston is definitely gonna be in there. I can't see Golden State picking that up. It would be mighty difficult - it's just a lot of things have changed since then."
The Celtics have been floated as a trade partner for the Pelican's Anthony Davis for a long time now due to an outstanding young core and they want to add another superstar. In fact, outside of the Lakers, they've arguably generated the most talk. Forward Jayson Tatum -- who broke out during last year's postseason when Kyrie Irving was injured -- is one of the names most commonly brought up. Tatum is well aware of the talk, as is his father, Justin. Justin told Cedric Maxwell of "The Sports Hub" that "I probably would trade [Tatum] too, if he wasn't my son" to get Davis. When Tatum was told that his dad had said that, his response was simple: "Yeah, I'd trade me too for Anthony Davis," he told Maxwell. The response drew some laughs.
If Davis indicates that he won't extend, the Pelicans may find a trade is the only answer, lest they lose one of the league's elite players without any compensation. The buzz in Las Vegas, where most of the league's executives gathered over the past few days for the NBA G League Winter Showcase, is that Davis will end up with either the Boston Celtics or Lakers before the 2019-20 season. "It's a renewal of the NBA's great rivalries, just not on the court but behind the scenes," one executive said.
The primary link to the Lakers is Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, who is the player agent for both James and Davis. That connection is a conflict of interest, at least in the view of several teams. "I'm not worried about James tampering to the media about AD. It's that James and Paul are mafioso mob bosses of the NBA that's the problem," a Western Conference general manager said.
Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday knows his team’s best hope to championship contention is coveted by the competition. “I mean, everybody wants to [have Davis on their team],” Holiday said. “I don’t know anybody who doesn’t. To us, he’s our franchise player. He’s top three in the world.” Is it distracting to hear and read media speculation about Davis potentially leaving? “Nah. I feel like, y’all hear it. We don’t really hear it,” Holiday said. “The only teams I know about is Boston and the Lakers. But again, we don’t really pay attention to that.”
But the C’s may be battling with their historic rival if (when) Davis becomes available. “Boston has been hawking Anthony Davis for years,” Wojnarowski said in an ESPN video with Zach Lowe. “They always hoped that it would be, whether it’s the end of this season or the beginning of next before the trade deadline, that they would gather up all those assets, all those picks Danny Ainge has, [all the] young players, and they’d be the team to be able to get Anthony Davis. But now you have L.A. and if they get shut out in free agency, they’re going to have to take all their young players to try to use them to get Anthony Davis.”
There is little doubt the Celts will be ringing the Pelicans’ phone next summer to investigate what it might take to extradite Davis from the Crescent City. But, as noted here before, no deal can be made this season that joins Davis and Kyrie Irving because both are under Rose Rule maximum contracts, and teams are allowed just one each. Irving presumably will be on a new deal next offseason when he opts out and signs here for more money and years.
The other relevant fact in all this is if the Pelicans do entertain offers for Davis, who cannot opt out and become a free agent until the summer of 2020, the Celtics will have the most to offer in terms of quality players and quantity of first-round draft picks. League execs have speculated that Irving and Jayson Tatum might be the only untouchables — and even that could be negotiable for a star who won’t turn 26 until March.
If they do, the Celtics will be one of the obvious suitors, with Brown, Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, Robert Williams and/or a number of future picks including a possible top-five selection to dangle. Even if Tatum’s off the table, Boston would be able to field a competitive offer. Several league sources have said they believe Davis could end up either with the Celtics or Lakers if the Pelicans were to move him. If he landed with the Celtics, he’d be reunited with former Team USA teammate Irving. The two have already spoken about what it would be like to play together in Boston, according to a league source.
Paul Pierce: “If things don’t go well in New Orleans this year and they’re hovering around 500 or not looking like a playoff team, Boston’s going to make a run at him or the Lakers,” said Pierce. “I guarantee you that. He will not be in New Orleans by the end of the year. If they’re not playing well he will not make it to All-Star weekend.”
I’ve long felt the Celtics should hold tight to their assets—from the Lakers/Kings first-round pick they received in the Tatum trade to Tatum himself—with the hopes of landing another big fish. But one executive I spoke with made a good point: The Pelicans trading Anthony Davis is nothing more than a fantasy. Even if AD, who can opt out of his current contract in 2020, was eventually made available, by that point, Boston may not even have the most to offer. Boston shouldn’t wait on that pipe dream, the executive contended, and should pounce on the next good opportunity that comes.
While teams are already preparing for a free-agent class in ’19 that potentially includes Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler, one executive astutely pointed out that the Celtics just might have the right picks at the right time to swing a trade for a superstar still under contract in ’19, but who makes clear to his current team he won’t sign an extension. 7. Someone like Anthony Davis. It’s all conjecture and speculation at this point, but that’s what All-Star weekend is all about. And A.D. on a team that includes Kyrie Irving and the slew of talent Boston is assembling could realistically be enough to topple the Cavs’ empire within the next year or two — even if James stays.
Sorry to shut down the party, but a Davis-to-the-Celtics deal isn't happening any time soon. During an appearance on "The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz," ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski explained why Davis will remain in a Pelicans jersey. "New Orleans has no intention of trading Anthony Davis," Woj said. "Boston's uniquely positioned in that they have draft picks and young players and all the things — if a team was gonna trade Anthony Davis — all the things you'd want. But [the Pelicans] aren't trading Anthony Davis... He wants to make it work in New Orleans. He wants to get into the playoffs."
The Pelicans are nowhere close to even entertaining a single trade proposal for Davis from Boston or anyone else. The Brow, based on everything I’ve heard, badly wants to make it work with the Pels and also happens to be under contract for two more seasons after this one. No matter how many people suggest it, Boston can’t trade for Anthony Davis. So can we drop this one?
The Celtics and Pelicans have yet to engage in any discussions regarding a trade for Anthony Davis, but, in a Herald exclusive, New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry set the price for a potential transaction between the clubs. “I know there’s been rumors about Boston trying to trade for him or whatever,” said Gentry, “and my response to that is, yeah, we’ll trade him. 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.”
One would think such talk, even of the media-driven variety, would be highly disturbing to a coach trying to develop a team into a single-minded unit. Distractions are destruction in his line of work. But Gentry is undeterred. “That stuff doesn’t bother me,” he said. “It’s white noise. You just block it out and you move on. I don’t really pay it very much attention at all.”
As for the stories about Davis at each stop on the Pelicans’ itinerary, Gentry said, “It doesn’t matter. To me, he likes it, he likes being here and that’s the only thing that matters. Every indication I get when I talk to him is that he’s committed to being in New Orleans. I mean, he’s a once in a lifetime player, and he’s happy here. I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but he’s never said anything to me but, ‘I want to win and I want to do it here.’ So it’s up to us to just continue to try to put the necessary players around him to get that done.”
Jake Madison: Woj on the Dan LeBatard show just said there is no truth to rumors linking Anthony Davis and Boston. He said again that Davis wants to make it work in New Orleans
Jake Madison: Said it would take a drastic change in direction for the franchise to move Davis. Team still wants to resign Cousins this offseason.
Will Guillory: I've talked to a few executives from the #Pelicans organization today and they call the Anthony Davis trade rumors "laughable". There's a lot of optimism about where the team is headed and zero talks of making any drastic moves before the deadline.
Jay King: Anthony Davis did NOT want to discuss any Boston Celtics rumors. On the Woj report that he talked to front office about them, "I haven't had that conversation with my front office." youtu.be/Hqi1cv8ioAs
Davis remains an obsession of several NBA teams full of the necessary trade assets to unfasten him from New Orleans, should the Pelicans ever consider a rebuild --- or should Davis ever request a trade. Boston has remained vigilant on the possibility of acquiring Davis, and Davis knows it. However, the Pelicans have no intention of trading an all-world talent under contract through 2021, no matter the return.
He walked into GM Dell Demps' office and asked about it. "He told me that [Boston] was calling, but nothing was going to happen," Davis said. "At the same time, though, you see how organizations treat players. Isaiah Thomas. DeMarcus [Cousins] told me that the [Kings] told him that he wasn't going to get traded, but they traded him. Isaiah took his team to Eastern Conference Finals, and they traded him. "It makes you wonder: Does this organization really have my back? I've been loyal to this organization. I love it here. I love this team. I think we're moving in the right direction. DeMarcus, Rondo, some other players that are helping us, but people get judged on winning. And I want to win.
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.)
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."
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.
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.