It’s the NBA’s favorite parlor game: Where will Anthony Davis be traded next summer?
The Pelicans would like the answer to be nowhere, they are burning up phone lines trying to add talent — all while waiting for Nicola Mirotic to get healthy — so they can show Davis he should stay there. Nobody around the league expects that to happen. If/when Davis rejects a supermax $239 million contract from the Pelicans next summer, the team will be forced to consider trade options (and indications are they will).
Boston wants to be at the front of that AD trade line? Who is available from Boston? Everyone. Davis is a 25-year-old two-way star, a top three player in the NBA, who is just entering his prime. That includes Boston’s best young player, Jayson Tatum. Celtics radio color commentator Cedric Maxwell said as much CLNS’ “Celtics Beat” podcast, but then Tatum’s father (Justin Tatum) took exception to that idea.
Maxwell told Jayson Tatum what his father had said (via NBC Sports Boston).
“Yeah, I’d trade me too for Anthony Davis,” Tatum told Maxwell.
Tatum doesn’t want to be traded but he understands the reality. This is Anthony Davis we’re talking about. If the Pelicans demand Brad Stevens first-born son in a trade, the Celtics would have to think about it. Every player not named Kyrie Irving (who is a free agent this summer anyway) is available.
What will be interesting — if we get to Davis trade talks — is what the Pelicans will want. This is a team struggling at the gate and with fan interest, and they have Davis now. They could get a great package of young players and picks from Boston that would jumpstart a rebuild, but what if they don’t want to rebuild? What if this is more like the Spurs trading Kawhi Leonard and wanting to stay relevant? Could a team off the map — Portland with a deal around C.J. McCollum? — jump in and win the day because that would help the Pelicans win more short term?
It’s going to be a wild July.