The Celtics and Warriors could very well meet in this year’s NBA Finals and Boston – Golden State could be the Finals matchup for many years to come. Could this matchup eventually involve Anthony Davis on one of those teams?
The Celtics and Warriors have been the two teams most closely linked to Davis in potential trade scenarios in the past two months as the Celtics are “one elite player away” from being legit challengers to the Warriors, and the Dubs themselves are players for someone of Davis’ caliber because anything seems possible in this “Durant joins 73-win team” world. The Athletics’ Tim Kawakami also reported two months back that Golden State is already targeting Davis.
The main problem with both of these scenarios is that Davis may be pricing himself out, trade-wise, of going to one of these elite teams because of just how damn well he’s playing this year. The Celtics would have to move heaven and Earth at this point to land Davis in a trade anytime soon. Given that the Celtics relinquished the coveted Brooklyn lottery pick and their best player in Isaiah Thomas last year for Kyrie Irving – just imagine what it would take to land Davis, who is currently putting up Wilt Chamberlain-like stat lines.
At the very least, the Celtics would have to part with all of their future draft picks (Sixers/Kings pick in 2019, Clippers 2019 first rounder, Grizzlies 2019 first rounder), Al Horford (to make the money work), Jayson Tatum and/or Jaylen Brown. And even that might not be enough to pry Davis from New Orleans at this point given that one could easily make that case that he’s the best player in the entire NBA right now. The Pelicans are going to have to be presented with literally the best trade package in pro basketball history to think about moving “The Brow.”
Davis will not be a free agent until 2021. Who knows what the Celtics roster will look like by then, as Irving and Horford will be free agents in 2020 and the C’s will be looking at scenarios in which to re-sign Tatum and Brown.
The Warriors will also likely look different two or three years from now as they have a choice to make on Klay Thompson in 2019. Even if they traded Thompson away for draft picks or chose to not re-sign him, Golden State would still find it next to impossible to land Davis given that Steph Curry and Kevin Durant would be earning approximately $80 million between them. The big reason why the Warriors were able to sign Durant two years ago was that the salary cap made an unprecedented jump that summer, but the NBA cap jump projections for the next few years are nowhere close to that leap.