Paths of the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks became intertwined two weeks ago when agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports informed the New Orleans Pelicans his client, Anthony Davis, wanted to be traded.
That was followed by Davis and Paul reportedly informing the Pelicans and other teams that the Lakers were the preferred destination. That was later expanded to the Clippers and Knicks, though the Pelicans ultimately kept Davis at the deadline.
While the Lakers aggressively pursued a trade for Davis, it was after the Knicks attempted to engage the Pelicans in a deal that included Kristaps Porzingis as the centerpiece. All the while the Celtics reportedly were working to convince the Pelicans to hold off on trading Davis until the summer when they could get involved.
During this time, Irving also began to speak frankly about his future with the Celtics. It was followed by reported interest in signing with the Knicks. According to Sean Deveney of Sporting News, the Celtics believe Paul made that information public in effort to negatively impact their chances of possibly trading for Davis:
The Celtics were annoyed by the story of Irving having eyes for New York, not because of Irving, but because they felt the story was planted by Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, in order to scare the Pelicans into thinking Boston would back off making a trade offer for Davis in July if Irving left.
“It was cheap and underhanded,” one source told SN.
By trading Trey Burke, Courtney Lee, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks, the Knicks created two max-contract slots for 2019 free agency. They are expected to pursue Kevin Durant and Irving, and possibly re-engage the Pelicans on a trade for Davis.
The Celtics presumably will enter those sweepstakes as well, despite constant messaging from those close to Davis that he is not interested in signing with them long-term. Of course, odds of Boston still deciding to move ahead with a potential trade would decrease if Irving is to move on via free agency.
Yet another intriguing layer is indications Irving is open to reuniting with LeBron James, particularly if the Lakers are able to complete a Davis trade. As the agent to Davis and James, Paul seemingly has found himself in the middle of the NBA’s latest saga.
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