When Anthony Davis informed the New Orleans Pelicans he would not sign a contract extension this summer and was seeking a trade before Thursday’s deadline, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers were identified as the most likely landing spots.
However, they are approaching the Davis trade talks from two vastly different circumstances. The Celtics are limited to trading for Davis at present time, because Kyrie Irving is on their roster while still playing out his Designated Rookie Extension.
Davis is signed under the same contract, and the Rose Rule rule precludes teams from trading for two players who are on that type of rookie extension. Thus, the Celtics are on the proverbial sidelines until 2019 free agency begins July 1.
That hasn’t prevented general manager Danny Ainge from being involved, however, as he reportedly is imploring the Pelicans to hold off on a Davis trade until the offseason, when the Celtics can enter the picture, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
Nevertheless, the Celtics remain determined to acquire Davis after the season and Celtics GM Danny Ainge has directly urged Demps to wait until the offseason when the Celtics have promised to be aggressive with their wealth of draft and player assets to try and acquire Davis, league sources said. Ainge is anxious to trade for Davis and pair him with Irving, sources said.
Prior reports have suggested the Celtics would be willing to part with Jayson Tatum in a Davis trade, which is of interest to the Pelicans. Though, Ainge’s negotiating history doesn’t suggest his promises in February will become reality in July.
There is also the obstacle of Irving potentially leaving the Celtics, which has become more of a possibility than believed several months ago. Additionally, Davis is not believed to have much interest in signing with the Celtics long-term, which could impact what assets Ainge would be willing to include in a trade.
While the Lakers and New York Knicks are believed to be Davis’ preferred teams at present time, Rich Paul reportedly informed the Pelicans that the Milwaukee Bucks and Clippers are options.
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