BOSTON (CBS) — Deadline day in the NBA has finally arrived. And after weeks of speculation and rumors (so many rumors), it doesn’t sound like Anthony Davis will be going anywhere before 3 p.m. hits.
That includes his preferred destination: Los Angeles. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers are “running low on hope” that they can get Davis from New Orleans. The Pelicans haven’t even countered L.A.’s most recent offer, making it pretty unlikely they move their franchise player ahead of the deadline. This could be posturing on New Orleans’ part, and the two sides could spark up a conversation at some point today, but that becomes more and more unlikely as the deadline approaches.
That, of course, is good news for the Boston Celtics. Danny Ainge and company cannot trade for Davis while Kyrie Irving is still on the roster, but are expected to make a gigantic push for Davis once Irving opts out of his current deal on July 1. That likely means the Celtics will sit out today’s deadline dealing, saving all their chips for a much bigger splash this summer.
That doesn’t mean Ainge won’t be exploring potential moves, or other teams have stopped calling them about their young talent. But Ainge isn’t going to make a deal just to make a deal, and he is asking for a lot if teams want anyone on their current roster.
According to league sources, they have been very protective of their younger and more cap-friendly talent, willing to discuss such players only in exchange for a player or players deemed able to significantly enhance their ability to win now.
The most intriguing trade candidate on the Boston roster is backup point guard Terry Rozier, who will be a restricted free agent after the season. But The Ringer’s Kevin O’Conner wrote Wednesday that Rozier is unlikely to be moved, because the Celtics see him as a good insurance policy should their summer plans backfire:
Unless Boston is blown away, Rozier is viewed as insurance in case Kyrie Irving leaves, or as a potential sign-and-trade sweetener in a move for Anthony Davis.
The Celtics still see themselves as title contenders, and they’ve been playing much better since their slow start to the season. Boston has won 10 of their last 11 games and now sit in third place in the Eastern Conference.
They don’t currently have an open roster spot, as they still wait for the league to do something with Jabari Bird, their young guard who was arrested for domestic violence ahead of the season. Once the Bird situation is resolved, the Celtics will likely be players on the buyout market, looking for a veteran player to add to their mix.
Other teams around the NBA are making moves for a late-season and playoff push, but the Celtics appear set on sitting out Thursday’s “fun,” keeping an eye on the future. A whole lot can change between now and 3 p.m., but from a Celtics standpoint, it seems like it could be a quiet deadline day.