BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics are reportedly determined to land Anthony Davis this offseason. But at the same time, Danny Ainge isn’t about to go all-in with their offer and send every asset the Celtics own to New Orleans for a potential one-year rental, according to one of the NBA’s most trusted reporters.
After reporting that the Celtics and Lakers were both engaged in trade talks with the Pelicans earlier this week, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has a little inside info on what the Celtics could offer up for the franchise center. He suggests the Celtics can give New Orleans two options: Jayson Tatum and not much else, or Jaylen Brown and a collection of other assets.
“I think Boston’s assets are more fluid. It’s very clear in L.A. who you are going to put in a deal. But there are really two ways to go in Boston: If Boston is willing to do Jayson Tatum and maybe not a lot else, or a deal built around Jaylen Brown and a bevy of those future Boston picks,” Woj explained. “But the one thing with New Orleans, if Tatum did get into an offer, he’s the best available player for the Pelicans in any deal they can come up with.”
This could be posturing on the Celtics’ part, knowing that the Pelicans prefer their potential offers over those of the Lakers. Los Angeles appears to be Boston’s main competition for Davis on the trade market, willing to offer up the likes of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and the No. 4 overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. They are reportedly looking to find a third team to help them get a star player to New Orleans in return for Davis, hoping to hang on to Kyle Kuzma.
But the Celtics have the chips to trump just about any offer the Lakers can throw at New Orleans, and the main one appears to be Tatum. But any trade for Davis would carry a huge risk for Ainge and the Celtics, given Davis and his agent have expressed their desire to land in Los Angeles — either this summer or next summer via free agency. Ainge would be selling off some of Boston’s best assets that he spent the last five years accumulating for one year of Davis, hoping they could convince the star player to sign a long-term deal next summer. Ainge runs the risk of trading everything he built and being left with nothing next summer.
It’s a complicated subject, especially with Kyrie Irving’s future in green looking dimmer by the day. Irving is reportedly set to sign with the Brooklyn Nets when he hits free agency on June 30, though bringing Davis to Boston could be the Celtics best chance at getting Irving to sign a max deal. Irving’s clashes with Boston’s young players is one of the reasons he’s looking to leave, according to a new report by SI’s Chris Mannix, so trading some of them away may help keep Irving in town.
If Ainge gets Davis ahead of next week’s NBA Draft and the Celtics still lose Irving in the coming weeks, he’s going to need some other studs around the six-time All-Star to convince him to stay next summer. So it would be wise not to trade everyone for Davis, even if it means missing out on the player altogether.
But Ainge has been enamored with Davis for years, and now he finally has a chance to get him. We’ll see how much Ainge is willing to give up to get a player of Davis’ caliber over the next few weeks.