With the Celtics about to be eliminated by the Cavaliers, expect the NBA trade rumors involving Boston to crank up in a hurry. The names of Paul George and Jimmy Butler will surely come back into the conversation, but one monster name that has been whispered about recently could come to the forefront. Anthony Davis could be available in a trade from the Pelicans.
The price for Davis would be astronomical considering he’s a top 10 player in the league and is still –remarkably - only 24-year-old. But it’s a price the Celtics would likely be willing to pay.
Celtics TV announcer Mike Gorman – who casually tossed out Davis’ name in a conversation about whether or not the C’s should trade the No. 1 pick last week on 98.5 The Sports Hub – thinks that the Pelicans would be interested in trading Davis if the Celtics coughed up this year’s No. 1 pick, next year’s Nets pick (which has a chance to again be No. 1 overall) and a player.
The issue with New Orleans is that a Davis trade seemed more likely four months ago – before they traded for DeMarcus Cousins. Despite going just 7-10 with Cousins in the lineup down the stretch of the regular season, the Pelicans will most likely want to get a full training camp with Davis and Cousins on the roster together before they can say whether or not this experiment was a failure or not.
Prior to the Cousins trade, there were some whispers that Davis could be made available in a trade. Here’s what The Vertical’s Bobby Marks wrote in early February:
“New Orleans’ top asset is not likely a lottery pick, but Anthony Davis. Putting feelers out for Davis could transform a Pelicans franchise stuck in neutral based on Davis’ on-court value and his manageable long-term contract. While the new CBA values player retention, the Pelican’s roster now and into the future will likely feature a common trait: mediocrity.”
At the February trade deadline, this year’s Nets pick did not carry anywhere near the weight that it does today. First, we now know that it is – indeed – the No. 1 overall pick. Second, now that we’re closer to the draft human nature/hype has kicked in and you’re hearing things like, “this is the deepest draft in 15 years,” and “this is the best draft in 15 years.”
So while Chicago and Indiana seemingly had the upper hand in negotiations with Danny Ainge a few months back, now Ainge can play hardball. He may not believe George (who desperately wants to go to the Lakers) and/or Butler are good enough players to get the Celtics to the next level. Davis, though, is surely one of the few players in the league who could take the C’s into the Golden State – Cleveland stratosphere.
Here is what Gorman said about Davis and the Celtics’ situation last week.
“[Markelle] Fultz is not a once-in-a-lifetime player but certainly one of the better players to come out of college in some time, but he’s [18-years-old],” Gorman told Toucher and Rich. “Isaiah [Thomas] and Al Horford have a window of about probably 3-4 years here to win a championship. Do you take [Fultz], knowing that probably in 4-5 years he’s going to beat the peak of his game, but other guys are going to be past the peak of their game? Or do you use him as a chip to win right now?”
Asked if he thought the Pelicans might give up Davis for the right price, Gorman said, “Sure. There’s a chance. I mean the price might be very high but there’s a chance.”