Celtics

David Griffin lays out why Celtics backed off in Anthony Davis trade talks

David Griffin lays out why Celtics backed off in Anthony Davis trade talks

Remember all that reported acrimony between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Los Angeles Lakers over Anthony Davis trade talks at the deadline?

Apparently none of it mattered.

Pelicans executive president of basketball operations David Griffin, who joined New Orleans in April, traded Davis to the Lakers anyway in June, leaving other suitors like the Boston Celtics out in the cold.

In a recent interview with ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Griffin suggested the Lakers were always the clear favorite to land Davis because of the big man's desire to sign with L.A. in free agency next summer.

"We were really fortunate that Rich Paul was representing LeBron James, and the Lakers need(ing) to put another star with LeBron sort of dovetailed with the fact that Anthony had picked the time he had picked to want to move on," Griffin told Wojnarowski. "There was really only one destination (L.A.) where they were confident he would sign."

That meant any other trade partner ran the risk of relinquishing key assets for just one year of Davis. The Toronto Raptors took that gamble with Kawhi Leonard last offseason and saw it pay off with an NBA title, but Griffin suggested the Celtics were less willing to take that gamble, even if landing Davis may have convinced Kyrie Irving to stay in Boston.

"We were in a situation where it was clear that Anthony was ready to move on, and it wasn't clear that he was willing to stay anywhere other than L.A.," Griffin added. "So, I think that probably played into Boston's thinking more than the Kyrie aspect of it, because Boston intended to stay elite. They wanted to compete at the highest level. I think the risk factor of him not staying put the trade conversations more in the space of those other deals we talked about."

If it's any consolation prize for the Celtics, their interest in Davis may have forced the Lakers to pay more for the superstar. Griffin added the Pelicans "had our sights set a little higher" in trade talks with L.A., in part due to the leverage other suitors like the C's provided.

Boston pivoted quickly after whiffing on Davis, replacing Kyrie Irving with Kemba Walker and adding an intriguing rookie class to the young Jayson Tatum-Jaylen Brown duo. Based on Griffin's comments, that may have been the right strategy, as it seems AD was determined to go to L.A. from the outset.

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Enes Kanter shows big support for 7-foot-7 Tacko Fall in latest tweet

Enes Kanter shows big support for 7-foot-7 Tacko Fall in latest tweet

Enes Kanter seems to be a fan of Boston Celtics' 7-foot-7 rookie Tacko Fall.

Kanter posted a video to Twitter of Fall practicing at Auerbach Center, and he took time to praise Fall's efforts on Twitter.

The Celtics' signed Kanter to a two-year $10 million deal back in July, while Fall entered Boston's system as an undrafted free agent but he impressed in the Las Vegas Summer League. Kanter is the replacement for Al Horford, who left the Celtics over the summer for the Philadelphia 76ers.

The two should be a great duo for the Celtics, as both have the height and skill to be something special this coming season.

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Countdown to Celtics Camp: Record predictions for the 2019-20 campaign

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Countdown to Celtics Camp: Record predictions for the 2019-20 campaign

Entering training camp a year ago, expectations were sky-high for the Celtics. Most pundits considered them the team to beat in the East. Vegas fancied Boston as a 59-win team, the second-highest win total behind only Golden State. And a Finals matchup between those two teams was far from a pipe dream.

Fast forward a year and expectations have been tempered. The Celtics lost a pair of All-Stars this summer in Kyrie Irving and Al Horford and, despite signing another in Kemba Walker, the team finds itself widely considered a Tier 2 team in the East behind projection darlings Milwaukee and Philadelphia.

So what happens this year? Do the Celtics go back to being the sort of overachievers that have defined Brad Stevens’ coaching career? Will a younger roster struggle to simply meet even the lowered expectations of this season?

To wrap up Week 1 of our Countdown to Camp series, we asked our NBC Sports Boston panel to look into their crystal balls and predict not only Boston’s final win-loss record but how far they’d advance in the playoffs.

The  Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook projects Boston at 49.5 wins this season. The Bucks (58) and Sixers (55) top the Westgate projections and the next five teams all reside in the west. 

The Celtics went 49-33 last season, settling for the fourth seed in the East. They swept the Victor Oladipo-less Pacers in Round 1 but bowed to the top-seeded Bucks in five games in Round 2.

When you consider that Westgate’s four lowest win totals reside in the East (Knicks, Wizards, Cavaliers, Hornets) and seven East teams sit below 40 wins, it feels like the Celtics should reasonably win 50+ games despite the roster changes.

So we’ll put the Celtics at 52 wins and a spot in the East semifinals. That seeding would likely mean a second-round matchup jousting with either Giannis’ Bucks or Embiid’s Sixers and Boston’s frontcourt development might dictate just how competitive those series could be. Remember, too, Stevens tends to produce his best magic when you least expect it.

The irony, of course, is that the Celtics could win 49 games this season and get bounced in Round 2 again but if they develop chemistry and are more enjoyable to watch then last year’s gang, then Celtics fans will be far more OK with that script playing out a second time — well, so long as players make the sort of strides that suggest more is possible in the coming years.

Abby Chin: 50-32 Eastern Conference Finals

I think purely based on better chemistry and grit, this team will improve on last year’s win total. And, I’ll bank on some luck in the playoff bracket. Maybe with injuries, or regular season Al Horford, Philly and Milwaukee fall to the 2 and 3 seed so the Celtics could avoid them in the first couple rounds.

 

A. Sherrod Blakely: 50-32, East Finals

I'm gonna keep the cookies on the bottom shelf with this one. They are a better team (team not individuals) than they're going to get credit for, and they have a roster that's full of talent with a huge chip on their shoulders from the coach on down. This group will play harder, smarter and win a lot of games they probably shouldn't and by doing so, keep Celtics fans extremely happy all season.

Max Lederman: 51-31, lose in 2nd round

Before last season the Celtics have always overachieved under Brad Stevens. I expect a return to that with lowered expectations this season. The Celtics also had their worst record vs winning teams last year since Brad's 2nd season. They should put up a better fight this season.

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