With the NBA trade deadline just 24 hours away, it’s starting to look like the Los Angeles Lakers are going to miss out on Anthony Davis.
While there are a number of reasons as to why that might be, there have been reports that the Boston Celtics are asking the New Orleans Pelicans to wait until the summer, when they’ll be able to offer a package centered around their treasure chest of picks and young players, most notably second-year forward Jayson Tatum.
According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, the Celtics have dangled the former No. 3 overall pick in front of Pelicans general manager Dell Demps to try and keep them from moving Davis before the trade deadline (emphasis mine):
This latest Lakers-Celtics subplot would be dead by now if Ainge had been scared off, but sources say Boston — which can’t trade for Davis until this summer because of the well-chronicled ‘Rose Rule’ — is continuing its complicated pursuit of the five-time All-Star in spite of the message being sent through various channels that he doesn’t want to play there. A source with knowledge of the talks said the potential centerpiece in a Pelicans package, 20-year-old Celtics small forward Jayson Tatum, has been discussed extensively by the two teams and is expected to be a major part of the talks when June rolls around.
Although it’s only his second year in the league, Tatum has shown enough for people to confidently say he’s better than anyone the Lakers have reportedly offered the Pelicans so far, both in the short-term and long-term. If New Orleans was given a guarantee that Tatum will be waiting for them this summer, it’s no wonder they’re willing to stand pat.
However, from what we know, there has been no promise made on Boston’s part. “Major part of the talks” doesn’t mean “major part of the deal.”
Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated said that the Celtics are hesitant to commit to a set trade package for Davis in the event things change:
Chris Mannix stumbling so hard when asked to provide a bigger Celtics trade offer than Tatum. pic.twitter.com/5uuC2EM1XJ— AB Moon (@ahndile) February 6, 2019
If Kyrie Irving re-signs with the Celtics this summer, there’s little doubt that Boston would ship Tatum and whatever the Pelicans wanted for Davis. But what is Irving doesn’t re-sign?
What if Irving takes his talents to New York or even L.A.? Would the Celtics still offer Tatum, who at that point would be the best player on their roster, for a player that has made it clear that he doesn’t see Boston as a long-term option?
It’s possible, but highly unlikely. That’s something the Pelicans have to seriously consider when negotiating with the infamously shifty Danny Ainge and the Celtics — and more importantly, when considering Lakers’ offers.
They have a little less than 24 hours to figure it out.
Keep track of all the latest Lakers rumors until the trade deadline here. For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Christian on Twitter at @RadRivas.