NBA Trade Rumors: Anthony Davis To Celtics, DeMarcus Cousins To Pelicans In Three-Team Deal With Kings

The Boston Celtics continue to generate NBA trade rumors due to their ongoing desire to add another star player to their roster. The Parent Herald reports that the Celtics have been trying to swing a huge trade for months, and CSN New England opines that not only is Boston looking to make a big move, but they will eventually be successful in finding another top-flight talent to go along with forward/center Al Horford.

According to SB Nation, it is only a matter of time before superstar power forward Anthony Davis parts ways with his current team, the New Orleans Pelicans. Sports Illustrated recently published a piece that details which NBA stars need a fresh start playing for a new team. Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins topped the list, and it is no coincidence that Cousins has also been one of the most oft-mentioned players in NBA trade rumors during the summer and early fall.

The latest gossip from the rumor mill is pointing toward a potential deal that combines all of these teams and prominent players. The specifics of the rumored proposal are as follows: the Boston Celtics would come away with Anthony Davis, and the New Orleans Pelicans would receive a package of DeMarcus Cousins, small forward Jaylen Brown and Brooklyn’s first-round pick in 2018 (via Boston). The Sacramento Kings would be compensated by acquiring point guard Marcus Smart, center Kelly Olynyk, small forward Quincy Pondexter and the Nets’ first-round draft choice in 2017 (from Boston).


When analyzing these NBA trade rumors, one of the first things to investigate is the feasibility of the transaction from the viewpoint of the NBA league office. The ESPN NBA Trade Machine confirms that this rumored deal would not be legal under NBA trade and salary cap restrictions. Anthony Davis makes an annual salary of $22.1 million, but the Celtics’ outgoing players in this rumored scenario (Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, and Kelly Olynyk) only make a combined $11.4 million in salary. Davis’ salary is nearly $11 million more than what the NBA would allow Boston to accept in a trade involving these three Celtics players, so this NBA trade rumor has been shot down as a result.

Since it does appear that the Boston Celtics are doing their best to land an elite player, would the team have been willing to complete this trade for Anthony Davis if the salary match wasn’t an issue? Davis is a great player, but in addition to the three Boston players mentioned, the Celtics would have been giving up two first-round draft picks in this deal. Anthony Davis would fill the power forward position for Boston, leaving Amir Johnson as his rather expensive backup. All three of the Celtics’ outgoing players in this hypothetical trade are coming off the bench for Boston, so the team’s depth would be affected, but they would still be way ahead considering the massive upgrade Anthony Davis would represent.


This would no doubt be an expensive deal for the Celtics, especially if rookie Jaylen Brown fulfills his vast potential and becomes a star in the next few years, and those two first-round picks are in the lottery, which seems likely. However, obtaining a superstar-caliber player such as Anthony Davis would be a rare opportunity, and it seems logical that despite the cost, Boston general manager Danny Ainge would be happy to agree to this rumored offer.

On the surface, it would seem ridiculous to think that the Pelicans would even consider dealing Anthony Davis — not only is he one of the top players in the game today, but he is off to a torrid start this season, posting video game-like averages of 31.6 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.0 blocked shots, and 2.4 steals per game so far this season.

Nevertheless, this NBA trade rumor does feature a very appealing offer for Davis: DeMarcus Cousins, Jaylen Brown, and a 2018 first-round pick. One could argue that Anthony Davis’ “untouchable” status might quickly disappear if this offer was truly on the table from the Celtics and Kings. Ultimately, the New Orleans Pelicans would probably opt to stick with their guy and turn this offer down, but this would be a very tempting scenario, as there are some who would argue that DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis are nearly equivalent players, even without the other assets rumored to be included in this swap.


The Sacramento Kings’ part of this three-tiered deal would have them giving up Cousins for three players and a future first-round draft pick. The pieces actually fit pretty well — Marcus Smart would challenge for the starting point guard position, Kelly Olynyk would help replace Cousins (along with current Kings players Willie Cauley-Stein and Kosta Koufos), and the Brooklyn Nets’ pick next summer is likely to be high in the first round. If DeMarcus Cousins has worn out his welcome in Sacramento, as has been rumored, this offer may have held some interest for vice president of basketball operations and general manager Vlade Divac, but a divorce between Cousins and the Kings would have to be imminent for Divac to ship Cousins to a rival franchise for a package similar to this one.

Current NBA trade rumors are swirling that the Boston Celtics, New Orleans Pelicans, and Sacramento Kings could be involved in talks regarding a blockbuster deal. The specific trade that is gaining attention online is not a legitimate transaction per NBA trade and salary cap constraints, but even if that wasn’t the death knell for this NBA trade rumor, there are other problems with this proposal.

The Celtics would probably jump into this deal head-first, but the Pelicans and Kings would in all likelihood get cold feet and decide to roll with their current stars, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, respectively. There is a significant difference between a trade offer that is a bit intriguing, and one that a team would actually go through with — this NBA trade rumor appears to fall squarely in the former category.

[Featured Image by Rich Pedroncelli/AP Images]