BOSTON (CBS) — And so it begins. The Boston Celtics are reportedly engaged in trade talks for Anthony Davis.
But as is usually the case when a six-time All-Star and three-time All-NBA member becomes available, the Celtics aren’t alone. The Los Angeles Lakers are also hard at work trying to work out a deal with the New Orleans Pelicans, and are reportedly the “leader in the clubhouse” to land the franchise big man, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Don’t expect that to keep Danny Ainge from making his best offer for Davis. According to Woj, Ainge and the Celtics are “undeterred” in their pursuit of Davis, despite the threat from his agent, Rich Paul, that Davis will likely be a one-year rental in Boston. Davis will be a free agent after next season, and Paul seems determined to get his client paired up with his other client, LeBron James.
But Ainge is determined to land Davis this offseason, with Wojnarowski adding that bringing in Davis could be Boston’s best bet at keeping Kyrie Irving, who will become a free agent at the end of the month. (Irving will not be picking up his player option for next season, it was announced Wednesday.) Ainge is armed with young talent like Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, three first-round picks in this year’s NBA Draft (Nos. 14, 20 and 22), and a future first-round selection from the Memphis Grizzlies. He should be able to trump any offer from the Lakers, depending on how much of Boston’s potential he’s willing to give surrender in the deal.
There hasn’t been any reports of what the Celtics are willing to offer New Orleans, but Los Angeles’ package reportedly centers around Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram. The Lakers would like to hold on to Kyle Kuzma, and are dangling the No. 4 pick in next week’s draft as they try to get a third team involved to send a proven star to New Orleans in order to get Davis to Los Angeles.
New Orleans’ VP of basketball ops. David Griffin would like to get the deal done before next Thursday’s NBA Draft, according to Woj, The Celtics still can’t technically trade for Davis until after July 1, since Irving won’t be a free agent until June 30 at 6 p.m. and there’s the pesky Designated Rookie Extension Rule in the NBA. But both sides can figure out the framework of a deal and come to a verbal agreement.
The fireworks aren’t going off yet in what should be an exciting NBA offseason, but the match is getting real close to the fuse.