The Boston Celtics ruin everything, so their attempt to foil the Los Angeles Lakers as the latter organization attempts to acquire Anthony Davis before the trade deadline on Feb. 7 should come as no surprise, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying.
In an appearance on SportsCenter, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that the Celtics are
begging strongly encouraging the New Orleans Pelicans to wait until the summer to trade Davis so that they have the opportunity to outbid the Lakers (emphasis mine):
“Boston wants to play the longer game here. They’ll talk to New Orleans soon — if they haven’t talked here in the last hour or two — and let them know, ‘we want to be in this when the season’s over.’ (The Celtics) can’t do the trade now, they can’t have Kyrie Irving and Davis on the roster together, they can’t finalize a deal until July 1. But Boston will let New Orleans know that, ‘we are going to be aggressive, we’re going to be able to give you everything you want for Anthony Davis. Hold off before the trade deadline.’”
Irving and Davis can’t be on the same team because of the “Rose Rule,” which allows players to sign a rookie extension worth 30 percent of their team’s cap as opposed to 25 percent if they fit a certain criteria. Both Irving and Davis met that criteria and are currently on that contract.
While it’s not illegal to have two “Rose Rule” players on the same team, it is illegal to acquire two of them via trade. The Celtics traded for Irving in August of 2017.
Because of that rule, the Celtics can’t make the Pelicans an offer using their treasure chest of assets (i.e. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, their nearly endless array of picks, etc.) until the summer. The Lakers, on the other hand, can make their Godfather offer now, which might actually hurt their chances of landing The Brow, because it might be better for New Orleans to wait until the summer, when teams like the Celtics and New York Knicks can further fuel a bidding war.
All of the assets the Lakers can offer the Pelicans right now will be the same assets they can offer them in the summer, when the Celtics and other teams can enter the mix for A.D. At that point New Orleans would ultimately be selling a rental, but teams like the Celtics are going to be willing to put all of their eggs in one basket, a basket that will then be full of players and picks that are really, really good for basketball teams.
It should be noted that Boston reportedly isn’t a “top target” for Davis’ camp (for obvious reasons) and that they’re expected to let other teams know that he only intends to commit long-term with the Lakers, but a lot can change in just one year. Just look at Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Hopefully the Lakers can put together the right package before the trade deadline. Otherwise, A.D. could be suiting up in that ugly green for the next few years.