Adrian Wojnarowski dropped an article today with some juicy tidbits about the New Orleans Pelicans and Vice President David Griffin’s desired return in an Anthony Davis trade. That included the status of the Boston Celtics in a potential pursuit of the star big-man as well as New Orleans seeking a multi-team trade to boost their trade return.
With rumors swirling about Kyrie Irving and multiple suitors who could come knocking for his services this summer (Knicks, Nets leading the charge), Adrian Wojnarowski indicated that the Boston Celtics front office could be hesitant to sell the farm for Davis without guarantees that both Irving and Davis would stay in green long-term.
For better or worse, the Celtics still seem very interested in acquiring Davis, regardless of what Irving might do. Danny Ainge most likely views it as a calculated risk that could pay off dividends, as it’s hard to imagine Irving walking away from an opportunity to play with Davis in a situation like Boston.
Despite the turbulence of this past season, Irving has had his statistically best seasons in green while also having his minutes managed well by Coach Brad Stevens. But depending on what Irving is prioritizing this summer, it might not matter.
Based off of Ainge’s reflections on the Irving trade and the success the Raptors have had after gambling on Kawhi Leonard, it’s hard to see Ainge sitting on his hands and watching a generational talent like Davis get dealt elsewhere. Some within the Celtics organization even regret not trading for Kawhi Leonard as well. Anthony Davis, though, represents the big fish Danny Ainge has been trying to snag for the last five years while hoarding the assets capable of enticing the Pelicans into a deal. You didn’t see Boston deal assets for Leonard because this is the real endgame.
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Beyond what we already know, Wojnarowski also wrote that New Orleans is looking to have a deal done by June 20th, as the draft is held that night and the Pelicans need to know what picks they will have in order to do their homework on prospects. This is the first time we’ve had some kind of legitimate deadline established by New Orleans, and with only ten days separating us from draft night, there could be some serious talks heating up this week and next.
But, what does this deadline mean for Boston? Well, the next few days will be extremely important, as we have multiple Player Option decision dates rapidly approaching. Pre-draft, we are looking at the following:
-Kyrie Irving (and, less importantly to some, Aaron Baynes) Player Option date: June 13th
-Al Horford Player Option date: June 18th
We’ve been hearing nothing but news about Irving, but Horford and Baynes’ are easily the two best defensive bigs on Boston’s roster, and both could walk away if they so choose. While the season didn’t end the way anyone wanted, Horford apparently still wants to come back to Boston with the team already looking to restructure his deal and lessen their salary cap burden. It’s also hard to imagine Baynes walking unless the roster turnover leaves him as the odd man out, and he’s been a strong locker room presence as well as a fan favorite.
The big one, of course, is Irving’s option, which he’s expected to opt out of; this doesn’t rule out a return, despite the rumors. Most importantly, if June 20th is the real deadline for Davis, Irving needs to opt out in order for Boston to even enter the picture due to the Designated Rookie Extension (part of the “Rose Rule”). It’s the same provision that prevented Boston from acquiring Davis in-season, and until Irving opts out, the same road block stands in their way.
If Irving opts out, a deal for Anthony Davis becomes possible, maybe even a three team deal involving Houston is in the cards. If Irving opts in for some reason, he is most definitely being traded. That could maybe even be in a deal to the Brooklyn Nets, who are not only rumored to be in pursuit, but would have to move or relinquish RFA D’Angelo Russell to open up another max slot for two stars to join their roster.
Keep an eye on your feed for the next few days. Things are about to get really interesting, really fast.