As of right now, it seems the race to acquire Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans is between two teams: The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. Just another June bout between the NBA’s two most storied franchises.
Hanging over all the proceedings appears to be Kyrie Irving’s free agency, as detailed by Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe:
According to league sources, the Celtics’ belief that Irving will re-sign with them after free agency opens on June 30 has eroded.
There is still some hope within the organization that Irving will have a change of heart if Boston is able to acquire Davis. And Irving’s fickle personality certainly makes anything possible until he officially agrees to terms with some team.
Nothing like a grand gesture to convince your future ex to stay.
Still, with Rich Paul so plainly stating that Davis would not stay in Boston, the gamble of acquiring him only to potentially still lose Irving weeks later — and thus probably lose Davis at the end of this season — has to be at the forefront of Danny Ainge’s mind when putting together potential trade offers.
Doesn’t mean he’s stopped trying altogether, but it sounds like he’s not offering much (emphasis mine):
But the likelihood of an Irving return appears to be decreasing. Nevertheless, the sources said, it is clear that the Celtics’ pursuit of Davis will push forward.
It is widely known that the Celtics have the shiniest collection of assets for a potential Davis deal, but there are questions about how far they would open their treasure chest. One league source said the uncertainty surrounding Davis’s long-term future in Boston has thus far limited the Celtics’ willingness to overwhelm New Orleans with an offer.
Basically, it seems as if New Orleans really doesn’t want to send Davis to the Lakers (something Himmelsbach also reported), but the offers they’ve received from Boston aren’t close enough to make it worth their while to act out of spite.
So it becomes a bit of a waiting game to see who blinks. Does Ainge really throw caution to the wind and hope that acquiring Davis is enough to convince Irving to stay? It’s still somewhat ridiculous to think that Jayson Tatum is somehow singlehandedly worth enough to top literally any other offer made on any other star who has ever wanted out, but that’s where we are, I guess.
Does New Orleans finally accept that that mystery offer isn’t coming despite the outcome of the NBA Finals, and move on from
leaking the Lakers offers to drive up the market waiting for Ainge? I mean, they’ve been waiting since the trade deadline, so what is another couple weeks, right?
Do the Lakers blink and add enough to the pot to just end this thing already? Is there such a piece that, within reason, could do such a thing?
Honestly, who the hell knows, but we’re probably all about to find out.