NBA Rumors: Pelicans Exec Reveals Why Boston Celtics Didn’t Trade For Anthony Davis

Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics and Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans talk after the game between the Celtics and Pelicans at TD Garden on December 10, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts.
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When the New Orleans Pelicans refused to move Anthony Davis before the February NBA trade deadline, the Boston Celtics have emerged as the heavy favorite to acquire him in the 2019 NBA offseason. Of all the NBA teams who were interested in acquiring Davis, the Celtics were believed to have the best trade package to offer to the Pelicans. Before the 2018-19 NBA season officially came to an end, Celtics President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Danny Ainge said that everyone on their roster would be available in their deal with the Pelicans involving Davis.

Unfortunately, when it’s finally time for them to make an offer, the Celtics decided to back out with their plan to bring Anthony Davis to Boston. During that time, there were speculations that Kyrie Irving’s refusal to commit to re-signing in the 2019 NBA free agency played a major role in the Celtics’ decision not to trade for Davis. In an interview with Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Pelicans Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin revealed another reason why the Davis-to-Boston trade didn’t happen this summer.

“We were in a situation where it was clear that Anthony was ready to move on, and it wasn’t clear that he was willing to stay anywhere other than L.A.,” Griffin said, as transcribed by NBC Sports Boston.

“So, I think that probably played into Boston’s thinking more than the Kyrie (Irving) aspect of it, because Boston intended to stay elite. They wanted to compete at the highest level. I think the risk factor of him not staying put the trade conversations more in the space of those other deals we talked about.”

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Without getting any assurance that he intends to stay long-term in Boston, backing out from the Anthony Davis deal might be the best move for the Celtics. Davis may give the Celtics a better chance of contending for the NBA championship title in the 2019-20 NBA season, but losing the likes of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, together with multiple first-round picks, for one year of his service would put them in a very complicated situation.

Despite failing to acquire Anthony Davis and losing Kyrie Irving in the 2019 NBA free agency, the Celtics still managed to build a roster that could pose a threat in the Eastern Conference next season. Aside from retaining the core of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Gordon Hayward, the Celtics also immediately found Irving’s replacement in Kemba Walker, who signed four-year, $140 million contract this summer.