If the Celtics and Danny Ainge are holding out on making a monster NBA trade, expect them to hold out for Pelicans big man Anthony Davis.
A Paul George trade was risky for the Celtics because of his expiring contract in the summer of 2018, a Kyrie Irving deal is risky for the Celtics because he plays the same position as their current star – Isaiah Thomas, but a Davis deal would fit the C’s just right. The problem of course is that the Pelicans don’t yet have a reason to trade Davis. That’s something, however, that could change quickly if New Orleans gets off to a slow start.
The Pelicans play the Warriors, Trail Blazers, Cavaliers, Timberwolves, Raptors, Clippers, Nuggets and Thunder all within the first month of the NBA regular season. New Orleans hasn’t yet proven to be on the level of any of those teams – even with DeMarcus Cousins in the fold as they went 7-10 together following the Sacramento trade.
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It’s entirely possible that things could get ugly in New Orleans before Christmas and Davis (along with Cousins) could be on the block with Pelicans management looking for a complete rebuild.
The Davis to Boston rumors have actually been whispered about since late last year, as CSNNE’s A. Sherrod Blakely wrote the following: “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.”
Even Davis himself has heard the rumblings throughout the past nine months. From the New Orleans Times-Picayune last week:
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 a 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 even reached out to Pelicans GM Dell Demps this summer as to whether or not he was on the block.
“Once I first heard [the rumors], then I heard it again, then I heard it again, I just wanted to make sure,” Davis told the Times-Picayune. “I found out it wasn’t [true], and that was the beginning of the summer, so I haven’t paid attention to it since.”
Bleacher Report senior NBA writer Howard Beck told The Vertical’s Chris Mannix last month that he believed Davis eventually winding up in Boston is entirely possible.
“From the moment [the Pelicans] acquired DeMarcus Cousins, my thought process went something like this: This isn’t going to work,” Beck said. “DeMarcus is going to leave after one year. Everybody is going to get fired. The Pelicans are going to end up in Seattle. Anthony Davis is going to demand a trade.
“It’s not that far-fetched,” Beck continued. “[The Pelicans] did nothing in the offseason. They’ve added no one of consequence. I don’t get any part of this.
“It’s reasonable to think that [Davis] will want out and that his people will start pressing to get him out. 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.”
What could go a long way for the Celtics in their potential pursuit of Davis is both the Nets and Lakers having brutal 2017-18 seasons. In a perfect world for Boston, they could wind up with both the No. 1 and No. 2 overall pick in next year’s draft with the two big prizes being Missouri’s Michael Porter and Duke’s Marvin Bradley.
If the Celtics do not have any lottery luck next May, they could also dangle young players like Jayson Tatum and/or Jaylen Brown.