Rich Paul is doubling down.
Paul, the high-profile agent of New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis, insisted in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated's S.L. Price his client plans to enter free agency following the 2019-20 season, no matter where he's traded this offseason.
"He has a year (left on his contract), he has to play," Paul told Price. "But after that, I can’t say it no bigger: WE ARE GOING INTO FREE AGENCY. 2020: ANTHONY DAVIS WILL BE IN FREE AGENCY."
That insistence came with an explicit warning to the Boston Celtics, who reportedly are aggressively pursuing a trade for Davis.
"They can trade for him, but it’ll be for one year,” Paul told Price. "I mean: If the Celtics traded for Anthony Davis, we would go there and we would abide by our contractual [obligations] and we would go into free agency in 2020. I’ve stated that to them. But in the event that he decides to walk away and you give away assets? Don’t blame Rich Paul."
It's rare for an agent to speak this openly about his client's intentions, and it's also possible Paul is just hoping to gain Davis some leverage.
But Paul is addressing a fear that's very real for the Celtics: Boston likely would need to trade several young players (possibly Jayson Tatum) and draft assets to New Orleans to land Davis, and if the All-Star big man signs elsewhere in the 2020 offseason, it would leave Danny Ainge devoid of the treasure chest of assets he worked so hard to acquire (especially if Kyrie Irving leaves in free agency this summer).
The C's have remained undeterred, however, and reportedly plan to pursue Davis regardless of what smokescreens his agent creates. And the fact that Paul mentioned the Celtics by name suggests Ainge and Co. are very much still in the mix for the 26-year-old.
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