By: John Morgan Francis
The Boston Celtics have had one of the more memorable off seasons to cap off what’s widely recognized as the greatest rebuild in the history of the NBA. Four years ago marks the summer Danny Ainge shocked the world by trading away Celtics legend Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets for salary fillers and draft picks.
Little did anyone know that those draft picks would become arguably the most appetizing assets in today’s trade market. Or that the picks would virtually become James Young, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Kyrie Irving and the Lakers 2018 first round pick.
Though James Young was one of the worst busts in Celtics history, Brown and Tatum seem to be two young studs who provide high upside. Irving is an NBA-Champion just entering his prime and the Lakers pick next summer is likely to be a lottery selection.
So what’s the final piece to Ainge’s master rebuild?
He’s a former NCAA Champion with the Kentucky Wildcats. He’s an MVP candidate and recognized as a top-5 player in the league. He’s a 6’11 PF who can take you off the bounce, hit a shot from virtually anywhere on the court and block over two shots per game. Did I mention he averaged 28 PPG and 11.8 RPG while shooting over 50% last season?
His name is Anthony Davis.
You might ask, after trading away/drafting all of the Nets picks, how the Celtics could acquire Davis. It turns out that they may not even have to initiate the talks.
Davis is a member of the New Orleans Pelicans, an organization which has been a dumpster fire since the departure of Chris Paul. Davis could leave in a few years when his contract is up in search of a winning culture. Let’s not forget the Pelicans traded for Demarcus Cousins last spring, who has made it publicly known he has no commitment to resign with the club.
New Orleans has no young talent, a lot cap invested in the average Jrue Holiday and one of the worst, if not the absolute worst, free agent markets in the league.
If the Celtics have the most to offer for Davis, it would make a lot of sense for the Pelicans (assuming they continue to be mediocre at best) to deal him instead of taking the sure chance of losing him for nothing.
A trade would look like this. The Celtics would have to give up that Lakers pick, additional future first round picks, Jaylen Brown OR Jayson Tatum and arguably their biggest FA signing in history: Al Horford. However, for a top-5 player whose age fits the Celtics timeline, Davis is still a major steal.
It may be a bit early to start these rumors, but I promise I’m not the first. The Western Conference is loaded as ever this season and the Pelicans didn’t necessarily improve their roster after missing the playoffs last season. A Davis trade to Boston would most certainly propel them into not only NBA Finals contention but contestants to hang their 18th as well.
As the season starts and progresses, keep an eye on New Orleans. I have a strong feeling Danny The Dealer isn’t done dealing yet and with the Celtics desperate for size, I seriously doubt Marc Gasol or Andre Drummond will be wearing a green jersey anytime soon. Davis, however, just seems like the perfect situation.