If Anthony Davis becomes available — and the Celtics’ eyes are very much trained on him — Boston could throw together a package more compelling than just about anyone else’s. Irving would be an indirect part of that package. The NBA’s superstar class respects his ballsy showman’s game. (Ainge has long liked Irving more than most of his peers for some of the same reasons, sources say.) Beyond Davis, it’s hard to pinpoint the next star players who might become available at Irving’s age and merit a motherlode offer — another reason to target Irving now.
There were already reports that the Celtics were interested in Davis earlier this year, but apparently attempting to land Kyrie Irving is an even bigger sign that Boston is serious about Anthony Davis. As will be every other thing the Celtics do between now and them landing Anthony Davis.
Or, if they don’t land Davis, just know that Danny Ainge did everything possible. He tried so hard. He offered everything and everyone. This isn’t his fault. In fact, he’s already focusing all his assets on LeBron James Jr.
Back to Davis. He arguably had his best season as a pro last this year. He played 75 games last season, having played between 61 and 68 games in each of his first four seasons. He averaged career highs in points and rebounds and put up solid Anthony Davis-type numbers in every other statistical category, both advanced and otherwise. He’s pretty great. Also, he’s on a great contract.
Davis signed a (then) record deal with the Pelicans two seasons ago, but with the new supermax contracts, his $23 million / $25 million / $27 million owed the next 3 seasons is a bargain. Stephen Curry will make $10+ million more each of those seasons. Gordon Hayward will also make more.
The only possible downside to picking up Anthony Davis is that the Pelicans have one playoff appearance and one .500 season since he arrived in 2012. He’s 24-years old and in his prime and his team won 34 games last season.
Meanwhile, the Celtics won 53 games last season and Vegas put their over/under at 56.5, the second-highest number in the league for the upcoming season. Would Davis get the Celtics past the Cavaliers? Many think the Celtics finally get past LeBron this coming season with or without Kyrie. Would Davis put them over the Golden State Warriors?
Davis costs a lot now and he’ll cost even more when he can opt out of his current deal in 2020. Would the Celtics be developing Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum and using that money to pay them when their rookie deals end? Not to mention all the players that will hatch from their assets over the next couple years. Davis on the Celtics is a nice idea, but is it really necessary?