The “Derrick Rose Rule” is the main reason why the Boston Celtics can’t engage in a blockbuster deal to acquire Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans before the February NBA trade deadline. As the rule states, a team can only have one player on their roster who signed the designated rookie extension. However, with Kyrie Irving no longer committing to stay long-term in Boston, the Celtics may consider making him available on the trade market.
A superstar-for-superstar deal between the Pelicans and the Celtics may look intriguing, but New Orleans is unlikely to trade for a superstar who is only a one-year rental. As of now, the Pelicans prefer to acquire trade assets that could be part of their long-term future. And with that said, Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated wrote that the Celtics could send Irving to the New York Knicks and then trade for Anthony Davis.
“Assume that Boston knows it might lose Irving. Assume that the Celtics knew they had enough to acquire Davis from the Pelicans before the deadline if they moved Irving first. We know for a fact the Knicks want star talent, and that the Knicks are now armed with forthcoming cap space and future first-rounders after dealing Kristaps Porzingis. New York could bid on multiple max free agents, but they are also in terrific position to trade for one. With Irving’s situation now publicly in flux, the Knicks should at least be calling Boston.”
— Express Sport (@DExpress_Sport) February 4, 2019
The Knicks won’t have to worry with Kyrie Irving’s impending free agency as they are rumored to be one of his preferred landing spots if he ever decided to leave the Celtics next summer. Sports Illustrated suggested two trade scenarios in the Knicks’ potential acquisition of Irving before the February NBA trade deadline, but only the one that includes Kevin Knox makes sense for the Celtics. In the proposed trade deal, the Celtics will be sending Kyrie Irving to the Knicks in exchange for Enes Kanter, Knox, and a future first-round pick.
After successfully unloading Kyrie Irving to New York, the Celtics could immediately engage in a blockbuster deal with the Pelicans. Per Sports Illustrated, the Celtics could offer a trade package including Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Marcus Morris, and future first-round picks to the Pelicans for Anthony Davis. The acquisition of Knox, who was picked ninth overall by the Knicks in the 2018 NBA Draft, will ease the departure of Brown.
Losing Irving likely won’t tremendously decrease the Celtics’ championship chances in the 2018-19 NBA season since they still have Terry Rozier to serve as their starting point guard. Davis may have already made it clear that he will only sign with the Los Angeles Lakers when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2020, but two successful NBA seasons in Boston could help the Celtics change his mindset.
Trading Kyrie Irving to Knicks just to acquire Anthony Davis before the February NBA trade deadline may sound crazy to some NBA fans, but those types of things really happen in the league, especially when a team has a president of basketball operations and general manager like Danny Ainge.