New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis is expected to be one of the hottest commodities on the trade market before the February NBA trade deadline. In most trade rumors that involved Davis, the Boston Celtics are among his top landing spots. As of now, the Celtics are believed to be the team that can offer the best trade package to the Pelicans.
They have a combination of young players like Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Terry Rozier, and multiple 2019 first-round picks that will be very useful for the Pelicans if ever they decide to undergo a full-scale rebuild. Unfortunately, since they have Kyrie Irving on their roster, the earliest the Celtics could trade for Anthony Davis is when the All-Star point guard signs a new contract in the 2019 NBA free agency. Per league rules, a team can only have one player who signed under the “Derrick Rose Rule.”
However, according to Max Kellerman of ESPN, the Celtics should consider trading Kyrie Irving “if they have a chance” of acquiring a player of Anthony Davis’ caliber. With his history of injuries, Kellerman believes that the Celtics might be better off without Irving on their roster.
“They might be better off without him if they have a chance, obviously, to move him in a package for AD (Anthony Davis) or something like that,” Kellerman said, as transcribed by NESN. “Do you want to pay a guy who plays like Kyrie with a problem with his knee going forward? A super-max contract, which he’s going to want. The fact of the matter is they shared the ball much better when he went down last year. He’s not the problem and he’s willed them to win in recent weeks, I’ve seen that in several games. But I’m not convinced that they’re not better off without him.”
— Flat Earth (@FlatEarthIsTru) December 19, 2018
The Pelicans will surely love the idea of a superstar-for-superstar trade, especially if they are still aiming to remain competitive in the Western Conference in the post-Anthony Davis era. Despite his health concerns, Kyrie Irving remains one of the best point guards in the league. This season, he’s averaging 22.9 points, 6.4 assists, and 1.8 steals on 48.3 percent shooting from the field and 40.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc. However, before engaging in a blockbuster deal with the Celtics, the Pelicans should first get an assurance from Irving that he intends to stay long-term in New Orleans.
The departure of Kyrie Irving won’t deeply hurt the Celtics since they still have Terry Rozier. Last season, Rozier proved his capability to become a starter when he led the Celtics to the Eastern Conference finals and forced a Game 7 against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Though he’s also set to become a free agent, re-signing Rozier isn’t expected to consume a huge chunk of the Celtics’ salary cap space, unlike Irving.
As of now, it remains unknown if the Celtics will really consider trading Kyrie Irving for Anthony Davis, but it’s something that should be expected from a team who has Danny Ainge as their general manager and president of basketball operations.