NBA Rumors: Celtics Still Plan To Pair Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving

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The Boston Celtics are still hoping to swing a trade for Anthony Davis and subsequently re-signing Kyrie Irving, per Frank Isola of The Athletic.

This is despite Davis’ reported unwillingness to sign long term in Boston as well as Irving’s terrible performance in the team’s second-round playoff series loss to Milwaukee.

No matter, Isola quoted sources as saying that Celtics general manager Danny Ainge “wants to re-sign Irving and believes he will do just that if the Celtics acquire Davis.”

Davis declared prior to this past season’s trade deadline that he would not be re-signing with his current team, the New Orleans Pelicans, and was requesting a trade. Several teams, most notably the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics, were reportedly interested in a Davis deal, but multiple reports at the time stated that Davis did not want to go to Boston and was not interested in re-signing there. Boston, however, was ineligible to trade for Davis during the season due to the “Rose Rule.”

At one point, Davis’ father, Anthony Davis Sr., told an ESPN reporter that he didn’t want his son going to the Celtics because of what he perceived as a lack of loyalty. The elder Davis cited Isaiah Thomas, the former Celtics player who led the team on an emotional playoff run three years ago, but was traded not long after to Cleveland for Kyrie Irving.

Per Masslive, the results of the NBA Draft Lottery Tuesday mean that the Celtics should no longer be considered the frontrunners to land Davis. Boston was thought to have more draft and player capital to offer in a Davis trade than other teams.

But following the lottery, not only do the Pelicans have more leverage in trade talks, but two teams thought to be in the Davis sweepstakes – the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers – landed the third and fourth picks, respectively, giving them key trade assets. The Knicks could be in position to trade the third pick in a Davis deal, giving New Orleans the chance to pair presumptive top pick Zion Williamson with his college teammate, R.J. Barrett. The Lakers, who failed to land Davis last season, will now have a chance to add that draft pick to potential trade packages.

The Celtics will have the 14th, 20th, and 22nd picks in this year’s NBA draft, having acquired the picks belonging to Sacramento and the Los Angeles Clippers in addition to their own.

Irving, who had hinted last offseason that he would probably re-sign with the Celtics, wasn’t so sure by the end of the season, and many NBA observers expect him to jump to the Knicks along with Kevin Durant.