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The Boston Celtics’ Summer Mission Is to Land Anthony Davis – NBA’s Worst Kept Secret

By Michael Wynn
| February 8, 2019

The Boston Celtics have stood pat, at least for now.

While other contenders in the East like Philadelphia, Toronto, and Milwaukee all made a splash before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, the Boston Celtics kept their current roster intact.

But the silver lining behind it all is the reason that Danny Ainge hung on to all of his young assets and didn’t make any moves. It’s because he has a goal in the forefront of his mind heading into the summer, and it’s to lure Anthony Davis to Boston.

The Lakers are clearly still in the mix, as we know AD is trying to get to Hollywood. And believe me when I tell you there will be a bevy of other pursuers who come knocking. Davis already announced that he would sign long-term extensions with a handful of teams. However, the C’s weren’t on that list.

And things get even more complicated for Danny Ainge when you take into account what Anthony’s father decided to air out to Ramona Shelburne, which was, in turn, plastered all over social media.

“Boston…I would never want my son to play for Boston after what they done to Isaiah Thomas…NO LOYALTY…guy gives his heart and soul and they traded him…”

Anthony Davis Sr. did go on to say that these were his opinions and in no way did they reflect what his son thought of the organization, but either way, the damage is done. If Boston is able to trade for The Brow, it’s going to take some convincing.

Plus a serious package of talented players, because the Pelicans remain firm that they’re waiting for the best offer.

If Boston is able to deliver on that account, here’s how it likely gets done.

The Goal Is to Pair AD with Kyrie

The rumblings of whether or not Kyrie Irving wants to stay in Boston are going to remain until something long-term is inked or he’s gone.

Rumors of him wanting to potentially play in New York or Los Angeles have floated to the surface, but he’s also said on multiple occasions that he’s extremely fond of the city of Boston as well as their fan base.

What could certainly make Kyrie more keen on staying in Beantown is if Anthony Davis was acquired during the offseason.

As high as Danny Ainge is on many of his young players, none of them are invincible if it means adding Anthony Davis to the fray. He knows that a roster built around Anthony Davis and Kyrie Irving is going to be formidable no matter what.

The Pelicans Are Interested in Jayson Tatum

The Lakers have thrown everything including the kitchen sink at New Orleans in attempts to land Davis over the past few days. The Pelicans’ reason for not even countering wasn’t necessarily because the deals were so unfair but because they felt strongly that better offers would be on the table this summer.

In other words, they knew the grass was greener on the other side.

The Pelicans are interested in Jayson Tatum, and word on the street is that the C’s will have no problem centering a package for AD around the second-year player from Duke.

Again, it’s not because Danny Ainge is short-sighting what he thinks Jayson Tatum can become; it’s because he’s fully aware of who Anthony Davis already is. AD is putting up mammoth-sized numbers and can get it done on both ends of the floor.

The scary part is that at just 25 years old, Davis is perhaps just now entering his prime.

As much as Boston loves Jayson Tatum, they won’t bat an eye at letting him go if it means putting a Celtics uniform on The Brow next season.

Where Does Terry Rozier Fit into All of This?

What happens with Terry Rozier is going to tell us an awful lot about the direction that the Celtics are headed in this offseason. It looks like Ainge has an insurance policy trick up his sleeve, as the Celtics holding onto Rozier in case Kyrie Irving bolts makes plenty of sense.

Terry is a proficient point guard who will cost about $100 million less than Kyrie will, so keep that in mind. The goal would still be to come to terms with Irving and move Rozier in a trade, but smart teams always have a plan B.

It appears that Danny Ainge is gift-wrapping a valuable package to send New Orleans’ way, and an offer that includes Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier is going to be awfully hard for the Pels pass up.

Remember, Davis has made it clear to everyone in the Big Easy that he has no intention of signing a “supermax” deal with the club, despite it including $239 million, which would make him the highest-paid player in NBA history.

So that means that the Pelicans understand the leverage he possesses, and it means they’re much more inclined to get a deal done if it can benefit their squad. Well, adding Tatum and Rozier would be a pretty darn good place to start.

What Happens If the Celtics Reach the 2019 NBA Finals?

This is something that needs to be addressed. Let’s say the Boston Celtics come together and play their best basketball of the season down the stretch and advance to the NBA Finals. And let’s say that Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier are a huge part of that success.

Will Brad Stevens then be okay with the Boston Celtics brass breaking up the continuity and centering the offense around AD next year?

I can tell you that coach Stevens won’t have much say because Danny Ainge runs things in Boston. If his plan is to trade for Davis, he will do whatever he has to in order to accomplish that goal. This scenario isn’t as far-fetched as you might think, and in fact, it could very well be what plays out.

Current Odds to Win the 2019 NBA Finals

Golden State Warriors-230
Toronto Raptors+750
Boston Celtics+950
Milwaukee Bucks+950
Los Angeles Lakers+1100
Houston Rockets+1300
Philadelphia 76ers+1400
klahoma City Thunder+2000
Denver Nuggets+2000

You can see that outside of the Raptors, thinks that the Celtics are next in line to reach the NBA Championship. If that pans out, it likely means that Tatum and Rozier will have elevated their stock that much more.

And it could be the final stamp that ensures that Anthony Davis lands in Boston — just like their mission will have been all along.

The Takeaway

Amid all the drama, the storm has no passed. With the NBA Trade Deadline behind us, New Orleans’ focus shifts to the rest of this season. The Pelicans will allow Anthony Davis to play despite the situation turning pretty dire.

It’s got to be frustrating for the other Pels players who are pouring their blood, sweat, and tears into this game day in and day out in attempts to get better. They’ve had to listen to their star player tell the media that he’s given the city everything he has but that he has nothing left to give.

It’s unfortunate, but the tension between Davis and the Pelicans just continued to mount. The damage to the relationship is beyond repair.

So while Magic Johnson failed to get it done, expect Danny Ainge to swoop right in this summer. It’s a very real possibility that we see Anthony Davis playing in Boston next season, and you know what that means.

It means we’d have individuals celebrating in Beantown, and it’d be a total punch in the gut for the fans in La La Land.