When the New Orleans Pelicans refused to make a deal before the February NBA trade deadline, the Boston Celtics emerged as the heavy favorite to land All-Star center Anthony Davis in the summer of 2019. That isn’t surprising at all since the Celtics were rumored to have the trade asset the Pelicans covet the most in the potential deal centered on Davis – former No. 3 overall pick Jayson Tatum. During the 2018-19 NBA season, Celtics President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Danny Ainge said that all their players and future draft picks would be available in their trade discussion with the Pelicans.
However, when they officially engaged in a trade negotiation in the 2019 NBA offseason, the Celtics have reportedly refused to include Jayson Tatum in the trade package which made the Pelicans decide to trade Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, and three first-round picks. In a Twitter post, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe revealed one of the major reasons why the Celtics decided not to go all-in for Davis.
“Bottom line, per sources, is this: The Celtics knew that if they lost Kyrie after 2 years, the bounty they gave up to get him would not cripple them long-term, and If AD left after one, the bounty they would have had to give up would have crippled them long-term.”
Emptying their treasure chest for Anthony Davis would be an easy decision for the Celtics if Kyrie Irving commits to re-sign and they get an assurance from the All-Star center that he intends to return to Boston when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2020. Unfortunately, since Davis’ trade request became public knowledge around the league, rumors and speculation have circulated that “The Brow” has no interest in staying long-term with the Celtics.
The Celtics became more cautious about going all-in for Anthony Davis when Rich Paul of Klutch Sports Group hinted in an interview with Sports Illustrated that the All-Star center will only be a one-year rental in Boston.
“They can trade for him, but it’ll be for one year,” Paul said.
“I mean: If the Celtics traded for Anthony Davis, we would go there and we would abide by our contractual [obligations] and we would go into free agency in 2020.”
Despite failing to acquire Anthony Davis and the nearing departure of Kyrie Irving, the Celtics don’t have any plan of undergoing another rebuild. Instead of getting younger, the Celtics are planning to surround Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown with quality players that could help them remain competitive in the Eastern Conference next season.