Anthony Davis isn’t going anywhere. For months, a popular theory has held that the Boston Celtics were angling to acquire the 24-year-old forward from the New Orleans Pelicans, but that’s a pipe dream. The Pelicans aren’t going to move the four-time All-Star any time soon, and the Celtics wouldn’t be able to meet the price even if New Orleans was considering it.
Tuesday night, Davis dominated the Celtics, pouring in 45 points and grabbing 16 rebounds in a 116-113 overtime win for the Pelicans. That performance obviously brought up the talk of bringing “The Brow” to Boston. While it would be a fun experiment, and certainly make the Celtics a formidable force, it’s simply not going to happen.
On Wednesday, Adrian Wojnarowski said the Pelicans won’t be trading Davis in the near future. Woj dropping that knowledge reinforces what was already obvious. Davis is under contract through 2020, so the Pelicans have absolutely no reason to trade him.
Davis is still young and isn’t going to drop off overnight. He’s in the midst of an MVP-caliber season. So far he’s averaging 27.2 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.1 blocks in 36.0 minutes per game, with a PER of 29.35 (which ranks fifth in the league). He’s also posting career-best shooting percentages from the field (56.1), 3-point range (34.7) and at the free throw line (82.1). No team is trading a young MVP candidate who is under contract for two more seasons.
Even if the Pelicans were going to trade Davis, the price to extract him would be far higher than Celtics GM Danny Ainge would be willing to pay. Boston fans with dreams of landing Davis without giving up rookie Jayson Tatum, along with multiple other players and picks are kidding themselves.
Any trade for Davis would almost certainly require the Pelicans taking back Al Horford’s contract in return to make the salaries work out. No rebuilding team is going to want to take on an aging player on that deal. So if it did happen, the Celtics would have to sweeten things even more.
The Celtics would have to resign themselves to giving up their two most promising young players, which would mean Tatum and Jaylen Brown going to New Orleans along with Horford’s contract. The Celtics would likely have to bring on a player like small forward Solomon Hill to make the salaries match.
Then there is the issue of draft picks. Boston would have to surrender at least one of its future first-round picks, and you can bet the Pelicans would ask for the Los Angeles Lakers’ pick from the 2018 draft. There is the possibility that pick could be included with Brown being removed from the deal, but then other players would have to be added to balance things out.
Remember, the Celtics wouldn’t just be acquiring an All-Star in this deal. They would be landing one of the best in basketball and a guy who would be an international superstar if he was playing in a bigger market. If Davis was in the final year of his contract, the price wouldn’t be nearly as steep. But he’s only making $22.6 million this season, which is incredibly affordable considering his production.
There’s zero chance Boston would offer anything close to that deal for Davis, and that’s probably a smart move. It would be short-sighted, give the upside of Tatum, Brown and the Lakers’ pick.
All of that is moot though, because the Pelicans aren’t trading Davis. Not this year at least. They have absolutely no reason to do so.