Now that the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery has concluded, here are some potential trade packages the Boston Celtics could offer for Anthony Davis.
The first year of the new flattened-lottery odds certainly produced a stunner when the New Orleans Pelicans won the NBA Draft Lottery for the first time since 2012, the year they picked Anthony Davis. They will almost certainly use the top pick to select Zion Williamson, which had the potential to derail any trade discussions involving Davis.
Fortunately for the Celtics and any other team hoping to secure his services this summer, Davis has not changed his mind and still wants to be traded, according to Shams Charania. If this is the case, then the Pelicans will look to build around their new franchise centerpiece in Williamson with the assets they receive in a Davis trade.
That’s great news for the Celtics, who still have the most to tangibly offer in a trade even though the Lakers got lucky with the fourth overall pick. According to Brian Windhorst, the Pelicans remain uninterested in trading Davis to the Lakers. Again, great news for the C’s, who should be considered the frontrunners to land Davis if they decide to pursue him.
Whether Boston decides to pursue Davis has a lot to do with Kyrie Irving, but instead of diving more into that, let’s break down a couple of trade packages the Celtics could offer for the superstar big man.
FIRST THING’S FIRST: In any trade for Davis, because the Celtics have exceeded the salary cap, they have to send out as much salary as they take in, with one exception. The maximum amount they can acquire in a trade is 125 percent, + $100,000 of what they send out. Davis will make $27,093,019 next season, which means, the minimum salary the Celtics must send out in a trade is $21,674,415.
Trade No. 1
Pelicans receive: Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier (sign & trade), No. 20 pick, 2020 Grizzlies first round pick
Celtics receive: Anthony Davis, E’Twuan Moore
The Celtics are giving up a lot here, but they’d keep Jayson Tatum to form an incredible core of Irving-Tatum-Davis that would hopefully stick together for a few titles. Rozier would have to be a sign and trade, so he’d have to agree to a contract with New Orleans ahead of time, but the Celtics are only permitted to use the value of his qualifying offer ($4.2 million) in a trade.
Trading Hayward isn’t a great look for the Celtics, but this is the kind of move you have to make if you want to win championships in the NBA. Hayward is a terrific player, but he doesn’t hold a candle to Davis. AD is top-five in the world. A starting five of Irving-Smart-Tatum-Horford-Davis would be a sight to behold. The bench would be torn to bits but that’s the type of core veterans ring chase with.
Trade No. 2
Pelicans receive: Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier (S&T), No. 14 pick, No. 20 pick, 2020 Grizzlies first round pick
Celtics receive: Anthony Davis
Giving up Smart hurts the Celtics fan in me, but like I said before with Hayward, sometimes you have to make these kinds of moves to win. Danny Ainge traded a fan favorite in Isaiah Thomas for a better player in Kyrie.
An additional first round pick is added in here to supplement the upside of Smart vs the upside of Hayward. Everything else is the same as the first trade, which is kind of the theme with trades involving teams over the salary cap. There are only a few ways they can go.
Trade No. 3
Pelicans receive: Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, No. 14 pick
Celtics receive: Anthony Davis
If I had to guess which package the Pelicans would want, this would be it. Three very good young players that fit around Zion well, two of which are still on rookie contracts and the other who signed a four-year deal a year ago.
The Celtics are probably going to try to leverage the fact that even their second or third best offers are better than anyone other team’s best package, so I’d be surprised if they gave up all three of Smart-Tatum-Brown. My guess is their goal is to hold on to at least one of them if not two.