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Why The Celtics shouldn't trade for Anthony Davis this summer

Eli Canfield
CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
323   //    24 Apr 2019, 13:13 IST

Anthony Davis requested a trade from the Pelicans in February, and he will likely be on the move this summer.
Anthony Davis requested a trade from the Pelicans in February, and he will likely be on the move this summer.

The Boston Celtics have long coveted Anthony Davis, even before he was drafted back in the 2012 NBA Draft with the 1st overall pick by the-then New Orleans Hornets. This summer, Danny Ainge’s dream about Davis in Celtic green could very well become a reality.

The Celtics have one of the best cores in the NBA, with two young up and coming stars in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, and one of those two, if not both would head to New Orleans in a potential deal for Anthony Davis. Before the Celtics make a trade that would alter the direction of the franchise for the next decade, Danny Ainge and his team must ask themselves if it is worth it to give up this core for one player, who could very well leave in free agency in the summer of 2020.

The Celtics have a core right now that could contend for the next five years, especially if they resign Kyrie Irving this off-season, so by breaking up the core what they would get in return is no easy decision. The Celtics' great core and huge amount of assets are signs that Boston will remain among the NBA’s elites for several years, but this could all go south if a potential deal for Anthony Davis is made.

The Celtics’ huge abundance of assets

If the Celtics enter into the Anthony Davis sweepstakes, they would likely have the best assets to get a deal completed, compared to the other teams going after the star big man this summer. The Celtics' young assets include Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, as well as Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, Robert Williams, and first round picks.

The Celtics own the Kings pick in this year’s draft, unless they land the top pick in the NBA Lottery. The Celtics also own a protected Memphis Grizzlies pick, as well as the Clippers first round pick which was lottery protected, meaning it will become Boston’s pick this year. With potentially up to 3 top 15 picks in this year’s draft, as well as the young assets named above, the Celtics no doubt have the most to give up to the Pelicans. The Pelicans could potentially set themselves up real nicely for the future if they play their cards right in trade talks with the Celtics.

The Celtics’ young core and mix of veterans

The Celtics have a great young core, with a mix of veteran presence needed to be successful in the playoffs. A core including Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, and Terry Rozier is one of the best in the business. Marcus Morris and Aron Baynes are as tough as they come, and a presence in the locker room that every team would love to have.

Robert Williams rounds out the nucleus, who has the potential to be a very suitable backup, even possibly be a starter one day. Even if Irving leaves Boston this summer, this team will still be good enough to be a top 4 team in the Eastern Conference next season, with tons of room to grow beyond that.

Rozier would have to adjust to a bigger role, which we have seen him do well in, especially in the 2018 NBA Playoffs. The Celtics definitely need Kyrie Irving to win a championship right now, and maybe for the next year or two, but 5 years from now I don’t think that will be the same. Most teams would love to be in the Celtics position right now, and besides the murkiness of Kyrie’s future in Boston, the Celtics are in one of the best positions in the association.

Why the Celtics should keep this Core

If the Celtics resign Kyrie Irving to a long term extension this summer, they are pretty much set for a couple of years. Marcus Morris is the only other relevant contract that expires after this season, and he will likely sign elsewhere if Boston do indeed ink Irving.

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If that’s the case, the Celtics are pretty set going forward and would likely be in contention for a championship for the next 5 seasons. Al Horford’s contract expires after next season, but signs indicate he’s willing to stay in Boston and possibly even take a discount. Other than the Warriors and possibly the Bucks and 76ers, no team in the league is in a better position for the immediate future than the Celtics.

Giving up any part of this core would be a mistake, and with the influx of picks the Celtics have in their back pocket, the rich would only get richer with these picks. If it takes 3 first round picks and Terry Rozier to get the deal for AD done, then I am all for it, but realistically that just isn’t going to happen.

A realistic deal would mean tearing up the Celtics' young and promising core, and getting only possibly 1 year of Anthony Davis in return is also a risk I am not willing to take when it comes to moving young assets. Tatum’s ceiling is the moon, Jaylen Brown has the potential to be an all-star, so why give that up for possibly just 1 year of Anthony Davis? It just seems like a move the Celtics shouldn’t even consider making.

Pursuing a trade for Davis is a bad move. Davis will likely join the Lakers in the 2020 off-season, but then again anything can happen. Is the risk of trading the young core the Celtics have developed for potentially just 1 season of Davis in Boston worth the reward? I don’t think so, and I really hope Danny Ainge agrees with me this summer, or else the Celtics could be in for a rough patch when the 2019-2020 season ends.

Ainge has said he plans on pursuing a trade for Davis with or without Kyrie Irving on the team. There is no way Davis would resign with the Celtics on a long term deal if there is no Kyrie Irving alongside him, so if this occurred, this could potentially be a franchise-altering move if a deal is indeed made.

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