NBA trade rumors usually don’t start percolating until the weeks leading up to the mid-February deadline. Yet that hasn’t stopped some early churning when it comes to Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans, with some whispers indicating that he could be in play for the Boston Celtics.
In the early weeks of his fifth season in the NBA, Davis is reinforcing why he was the top selection in the 2012 NBA Draft. He’s again averaging a double-double while also leading the league in blocked shots. He’s already twice led the league in the latter category and actually found a way to bump up his scoring and rebounding numbers to 30.5 and 11.2 per game, respectively.
The 24-year-old Davis is doing this despite the Pelicans being off to a miserable start at 2-10, the worst record in the NBA. While he remains positive in the face of a second straight disastrous season, Davis has only been in one playoff series in his professional career. That was when the Golden State Warriors swept New Orleans in four games in 2015.
Davis has no doubt given thought to spending more years in such a situation, which can’t be pleasant. That’s why discussions about his potential departure have picked up, since he’s currently in the first year of a five-year, $127.1 million deal that won’t make him an unrestricted free agent until 2021.
The fact that he’ll only be 28 years of age when that deal ends means that staying in the Big Easy won’t eat up the best years of his career. Yet, the idea of spending some more soul-crushing seasons with the Pelicans might already be wearing on him.
Boston, as a potential landing spot, makes a good deal of sense since they have plenty of young talent that will be asking for plenty of money in upcoming years, thanks to the expanded league salary cap. The Celtics pulled off one of the best signings of the offseason with Al Horford to a four-year, $113 million contract. The Celtics would have one of the best, and most expensive, frontcourt duos in the league if they can pull off a trade for Davis.
In addition, their deal with Brooklyn continues to pay dividends, with first round picks in each of the next two years headed to the Celtics. That’s in addition to the two first round picks from 2016, Guerschon Yabusele and Ante Zizic, who are currently playing overseas.
Acquiring Davis will cost plenty, but Boston is one of the few franchises that has the available talent to make such a move. Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has always leaned toward being aggressive when it comes to acquiring talent, and Davis is a true franchise player that can help Boston compete with the likes of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Davis would also have Brad Stevens as his head coach. Stevens has shown that he can pretty much get every ounce of talent out of his players, which could be mind-boggling in this case.
With Davis currently experiencing back and quad issues and considering his previous injury history, he may start to hear the clock ticking louder on his career, which could make heading to Boston seem much more palatable.
Should we contemplate this, New Orleans?