The likelihood of the New Orleans Pelicans trading Anthony Davis before this season’s deadline never appeared high, and much less so when considering the Los Angeles Lakers were the lone suitors.
As the Lakers were presenting the Pelicans with a slew of proposals and revised offers, the Boston Celtics reportedly were encouraging them to keep Davis past the trade deadline. Doing so would allow the Celtics to become involved in trade talks without needing to part with Kyrie Irving.
Amid speculation that it would be Boston who the Pelicans complete a trade with, came reports of Davis not having any interest in signing with them long-term. Anthony Davis Sr. publicly denounced the Celtics as a viable option for his son because of their treatment of Isaiah Thomas.
Davis pushed back against that notion, however, explaining during 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend Charlotte media availability that he never ruled out the Celtics as an option. Just as that news was beginning to spread, Davis then said he is open to all 29 teams, via NBA TV:
“All 29 other teams are on my list. I don’t have preferred destination. Like I said, I just want to win. They ask me, big market? Small market? I don’t care. I want to win. Obviously, whatever team I get traded to, I’ll play for that year or whatever. If I get traded, I’m not sure. Just make the best of it and then when free agency comes, see what happens. I can’t tell the future, but all 29 teams are on the list. … I never gave a destination. Anthony Davis has never gave a destination of where he wants to play.”
In what could be semantics, Davis clearly referred to himself when explaining a list of preferred teams was not presented to the Pelicans. Prior reports suggested it was agent Rich Paul who made the trade demand and later followed that with desired destinations.
The Celtics are widely expected to pursue a trade for Davis this offseason, regardless of how he may feel toward the team. Taking a gamble on Paul George panned out for the Oklahoma City Thunder, and now the Toronto Raptors are hoping the same will hold true with Kawhi Leonard.
In reality, the Celtics’ hopes of possibly keeping Davis beyond next season would hinge on Irving. He’s softened on his stance of absolutely wanting to re-sign with the team, and Boston believes Paul leaked Irving’s interest in the New York Knicks in effort to undermine future trade talks between the Celtics and Pelicans.
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