What Anthony Davis’ trade request means for the Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics Anthony Davis (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Boston Celtics Anthony Davis (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

ESPN Senior Insider Adrian Wojnarowski nearly broke the internet early Monday morning with breaking news related to New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis.

Rich Paul, Anthony Davis‘ agent, has informed the Pelicans he does not intend on re-signing with the team and has requested a trade.

These are the words Celtics fans have longed to read, but are also the words that at this very moment in time should fear the most. By now just about every individual who follows Boston basketball knows about the franchise’s infatuation with Davis.

Of course, by now that ideology is also followed by the knowledge that the team can’t trade for Davis due to the restrictions set in place by the Rose rule.

"The Boston Celtics, who have long been considered one of the most likely trade destinations for Davis, are not in a position to make a trade right now because they acquired Kyrie Irving by trade. Irving and Davis are both on Designated Player Rookie Scale Extensions, so the Celtics would have to give up Irving if they wanted to bring in Davis."

Due to these restraints, so long as Kyrie Irving dons the green and white Danny Ainge will not be buzzing Dell Demps and the Pelican’s front office anytime soon.

So, what does this mean for the Boston Celtics?

The timing is fascinating, to say the least. With the NBA Trade Deadline looming just over the horizon this indicates Davis is willing to be moved prior to said deadline. There have been major ties between the disgruntled star and the Los Angeles Lakers. The LeBron James-led franchise has more than enough assets to get a deal done before February 7th.

Here is what we know thus far about the timing of the announcement, per Adrian Wojnarowski:

Despite the request for a trade, Davis loves the Pelicans franchise and has expressed his desire to play for the team long-term. These words don’t come as a surprise but do come as trouble for the Celtics. If the Pelicans get jumpy, it is conceivable that LA’s offer will be too enticing to pass up. A package including Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac, and a 1st rounder is a massive offer and one that could only be trumped by Boston.

Rich Paul himself could be pushing Davis to move West, given his ties to the Lakers and of course LeBron James. Paul has been a long time friend of James, and is currently his agent, so wanting to pair the two together is no surprise.

In the end, this isn’t Paul’s decision to make. Davis seeks out a winning environment that gives him the opportunity to “compete for a championship.”

This brings to question the remaining years James is a dominant force in the league. While still incredible at basketball, the king isn’t getting any younger and has plenty of miles on his body. He turned 34 in December and is under contract until the 2022 season. That gives Davis 3 guaranteed years with LeBron. Assuming the two remain healthy, after gutting the roster to obtain Davis’s services will the two be enough to triumph over the Golden State Warriors? I’m not so sure.

The only team outside of the Lakers that can offer a serviceable package for Davis is the Celtics. Ainge and company also check off all the boxes needed to get a deal done. If available in the offseason, the Celtics boast the right mix of draft picks, young players, and contracts to satisfy New Orleans.

Boston also fulfills Davis’s wishes to be in a winning environment, given that a deal for the star can conceivably be done without moving stars Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, and Gordon Hayward. If the Celtics are lucky, they could even end up retaining Jayson Tatum, albeit it’s unlikely.

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Davis has expressed affection for the organization in the past, noting the team’s foundation and fan base as some of the best the league has to offer. So, the mutual interest is certainly there. The only question is whether or not he will be available when the Celtics finally get an opportunity to make a move. Boston arguably can offer the best deal and the most fitting environment, but will New Orleans resist the temptation to pull the trigger in the coming week?