During the six o’clock p.m. hour of ESPN’s SportsCenter, Adrian Wojnarowski dropped some pretty impactful news regarding the New Orleans Pelicans franchise and for all those with an interest in the Anthony Davis sweepstakes.
Woj just said on ESPN that Boston will talk to Nola soon regarding a trade, if they haven't in last hour.— Oleh Kosel (@OlehKosel) January 29, 2019
Celtics will let Pels know: "We are going to be aggressive. We're going to be able to give you everything you want for Anthony Davis. Hold off before the trade deadline."
In recent days we’ve witnessed Davis’ representation (Rich Paul of Klutch Sports) ask for a trade out of New Orleans, recommend a preference for the Los Angeles Lakers, and amid these two events, Chris Haynes suggest that the New York Knicks would prepare an offer but Boston sat on the periphery as there was a question regarding the probability of re-signing Kyrie Irving.
Well, in about 24 hours time, Wojnarowski has incinerated the idea that general manager Danny Ainge and the Celtics would not be major players for Davis’ services. In addition, Boston is reportedly ready to hand over the mother lode, giving New Orleans their choice of picks and players — provided they wait until the upcoming free agency to deal Davis.
Ainge, obviously, has to take this stance of “we’ll give you anything” because he can’t make a trade offer for Davis at this time. The NBA Bargaining Agreement prohibits two players currently signed under the Designated Player Rookie Extension (or “Rose Rule” if you prefer) to be on the same team. Since Irving and Davis remain on these type of extension contracts, Boston cannot trade for Davis unless Irving is dealt or the Celtics must wait until Kyrie’s contract runs out on July 1st.
Yes, expect the later.
Irving will in all likelihood remain firmly in Boston’s future plans so they’ll resign him when the time comes in July. Meanwhile, many have expected for years that one day Ainge would open up his war chest of assets for the right player. Anthony Davis is that guy and he’s always been the apple of the GM’s eye. It’s key to note that Boston has inquired into his availability in the past and it is worth mentioning that Irving has previously recruited Davis to come join him in Boston.
Where does this leave the Lakers right now? Scrambling hard and that’s why we witnessed the events unfold as they did over the last 48 hours. The Lakers team is reeling in the standings and Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka know they don’t have the assets to compete with Boston and others this summer. They have to make a deal now, but fortunately, New Orleans holds all the cards.
Davis remains under contract for close to another 18 months so the Pelicans have little pressure to deal him anywhere at this time. They can sit back and wait for the best offers to come rolling in — which won’t be until this summer.
As far as tossing out that grenade of claiming Davis will not re-sign with anyone but the Lakers isn’t likely to scare most contenders with good packages away from the bargaining table. Paul George changed his mind. Kawhi Leonard is in a good position to do the same. Furthermore, Danny Ainge says he doesn’t care what comes out of Klutch Sports. He remains willing to take a chance as Masai Ujiri did up in Toronto.
This is all certainly good news for New Orleans and their fans. Now, can we just hurry up and get past this February 7th trade deadline already?