Celtics

Anthony Davis likes Lakers' final trade offer for him (on Instagram, anyway)

Anthony Davis likes Lakers' final trade offer for him (on Instagram, anyway)

What does it all mean???

The Anthony Davis saga took another turn Tuesday when the Los Angeles Times' Brad Turner reported the Lakers have "pulled out" of negotiations with the New Orleans Pelicans ahead of Thursday's NBA trade deadline.

The Pelicans reportedly were demanding a mother lode of players and draft picks, leaving L.A. to essentially bid against itself: The Lakers' last offer to New Orleans included Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Ivica Zubac, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and two first-round draft picks, according to Turner.

... Which leads us to this development minutes later:

Davis' Instagram account apparently "liked" Bleacher Report's post about the Lakers' mammoth offer.

But what does this "like" mean? Does Davis think the Pelicans should accept L.A.'s proposal? Is he glad the Lakers are no longer making offers for him ahead of the trade deadline? Or is he just selfishly happy he garners so much value on the trade market?

We'll probably never know, as the 25-year-old hasn't exactly been an open book about the whole situation.

But we do know Tuesday's news is a good development for the Boston Celtics, who hope Davis remains in New Orleans past Thursday's trade deadline so they can make a run at him this summer.

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Kemba Walker press conference live stream: Watch Celtics introduction online

Kemba Walker press conference live stream: Watch Celtics introduction online

A new era in Boston begins Wednesday.

The Celtics will hold an introductory press conference for Kemba Walker at the Auerbach Center in the point guard's first public appearance since signing a four-year, $141 million maximum contract in free agency.

Walker comes from the Charlotte Hornets with high expectations; the 29-year-old averaged a career-high 25.6 points and 5.9 assists per game last season while earning Third Team All-NBA honors.

Expected to join Walker at Wednesday's press conference are Celtics lead owner and governor Wyc Grousbeck, managing partner and co-owner Stephen Pagliuca, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, team president Rich Gotham and head coach Brad Stevens.

NBC Sports Boston will air the press conference live beginning at 1 p.m. ET, and you can watch a live stream by clicking the link below.

When: Wednesday, July 17, 1 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NBC Sports Boston

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NBA Rumors: Execs believe this dynamic 'upended' Celtics last season

NBA Rumors: Execs believe this dynamic 'upended' Celtics last season

Why did the Boston Celtics' 2018-19 go off the rails? ... How much time do you have?

Here's the prevailing theory: Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, who both missed the 2017-18 playoffs, struggled to assimilate into a roster that reached Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals without them, creating deep chemistry issues on a roster supposedly brimming with talent.

According to Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher, executives around the league apparently buy that theory, but more specifically believe the contract structure of the Celtics' most important players also played a role in their demise.

"A player salary structure that doesn't reflect the pecking order in value and contributions can cause dissension," Bucher wrote Tuesday. "Several executives believe that is the dynamic that upended the Boston Celtics last season."

As Bucher points out, Hayward was Boston's highest-paid player last season at $31.2 million but was far from its best player, averaging just 11.5 points per game as he recovered from a serious ankle injury.

Meanwhile, players earning a fraction of that salary on their rookie contracts -- namely Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier -- either outperformed Hayward or believed they could after the success they found in the 2017-18 season.

"In that situation you have Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier making names for themselves and hadn't got paid yet," one "player-turned-executive" told Bucher. "They got a taste of the Eastern Conference Finals, they go seven games, and all of a sudden Kyrie and Gordon Hayward are back the next year and everything changes. It's a tricky situation."

Compensation rarely is an accurate reflection of talent on any NBA roster, as players often get big paydays as a result of success they had while earning less money. (Just ask Rozier.) But Bucher points out that players are "keenly aware" of what their contemporaries make and that disproportionate salaries can affect locker room dynamics.

There obviously were other factors at play for the Celtics last season, but with Kemba Walker coming to Boston on a four-year, $141 million maximum deal, they'll need to set egos aside to avoid more drama in 2019-20.

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