Celtics

ESPN's Brian Windhorst calls AD-Lakers trade 'Celtics-Nets trade part two'

ESPN's Brian Windhorst calls AD-Lakers trade 'Celtics-Nets trade part two'

The Los Angeles Lakers made a deal to acquire Anthony Davis on Saturday night. The 26-year-old superstar will be leaving the New Orleans Pelicans to join the Lakers, but not everyone thinks it's such a great long-term deal.

ESPN's Brian Windhorst is one of those people. The analyst called the haul New Orleans received "potentially scandalous" and compared it to the ill-fated trade between the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics that accelerated the Celtics rebuild rapidly while doing long-term damage to the Nets franchise.

“What they gave up for him is potentially scandalous,” Windhorst told ESPN 710 in Los Angeles (as transcribed by MassLive's John Karalis). “It is an unbelievable haul that they gave. And not all the details are out there yet, but when they get out there, you’re going to see why. It is the Nets-Celtics trade part 2. It’s going to affect them long after LeBron is out of his prime and maybe no longer on the team.”

Of course, the main pieces the Nets acquired in the trade with the Celtics (Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry) were all over the age of 35, so the deals are much different. Davis is still going to be in his prime for years to come, so the deal could pay off short-term if Davis and LeBron James are able to team up and win a title. And if Kyrie Irving joins them in L.A.? They could be the next super team and will surely have longer than the one-year window the Nets ended up with.

But giving up five to seven years of control of their draft picks is certainly a risk for the Lakers, especially with James set to turn 35 in December.

That likely explains why Danny Ainge was wary of completing this deal for Davis. Ainge has seen first-hand the impact of the Celtics-Nets trade, and he definitely doesn't want to come out on the other end of the deal. Reportedly, the Celtics refused to include Jayson Tatum in trade talks with the Pelicans and that may have been due to Rich Paul's comments about Davis leaving Boston after one season. The C's weren't about to pay a king's ransom for a one-year rental, so that allowed the Lakers to swoop in with the winning offer.

Only time will tell if this deal ends up becoming Celtics-Nets 2.0. All that we know now is that the Lakers gave up a lot to get one of the NBA's best players. And the Celtics elected to be conservative and continue to stockpile their long-term assets.

FORSBERG: What does the AD trade mean for the Celtics?>>>

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Kawhi Leonard injury: Clippers star reportedly expected to play vs. Celtics

Kawhi Leonard injury: Clippers star reportedly expected to play vs. Celtics

All signs are pointing toward one of the NBA's top-five players playing in Wednesday night's showdown between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center.

Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard has missed the last three games with a left knee injury, but ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk and Adrian Wojnarowski have reported the two-time NBA Finals MVP is expected to play versus the C's.

Leonard has played in nine of the Clippers' 14 games this season. Whether he's actually injured or just using load management to keep himself fresh for the playoffs, it's exciting that he's likely to play against a Celtics team with championship aspirations after a strong start to the campaign.

Boston leads the Eastern Conference standings with an 11-2 record and owns the sixth-best defensive rating in the league. Celtics guard Marcus Smart was named to the NBA's All-Defense first team last season, and he's making a compelling case in 2019-20 to be the Defensive Player of the Year award winner. Smart likely will be tasked with guarding Leonard, and that matchup will be awesome to watch. 

Leonard is averaging 26.8 points, 8.9 rebounds and six assists per game this season, and the Clippers are 7-2 with him in the lineup. He's not the only superstar forward the C's must stop, though. Paul George is back after missing the first few weeks of the season. He's averaging 29.3 points in 24.3 minutes over three games.

Marcus Smart reveals his pick for NBA's most unstoppable player>>>

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Clippers, which tips off Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 10 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.

NBA Rumors: These Celtics players are off-limits in trade deadline talks

NBA Rumors: These Celtics players are off-limits in trade deadline talks

The Boston Celtics may need to upgrade their frontcourt if they want to compete with the beasts of the NBA's Eastern Conference.

But to get something good, you need to give something good in return ... and the Celtics don't seem willing to do that at the moment.

Here's what ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported in his column Wednesday about the prospects of Boston trading for a big man before the Feb. 7 NBA trade deadline:

While one could have some fun with the Trade Machine, Boston has made it clear to anyone who has asked that their core players are absolutely not available. That includes, sources said, both (Gordon) Hayward and (Marcus) Smart, players who have been floated as possible trade chips in the past.

Windhorst didn't confirm who Boston's other "core players" are, but we can fill in the gaps: If Hayward and Smart are off the table, Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown aren't going anywhere, either.

Can the Celtics really make an upgrade in the frontcourt without moving one of their five best players?

If they do, a trade almost certainly would need to include the Memphis Grizzlies' first-round pick, which is top-six protected for 2020 and is Danny Ainge's best trade chip. The C's also should get the Milwaukee Bucks' first-rounder in addition to their own.

But even if draft picks can lure a big man like Clint Capela, Kevin Love or LaMarcus Aldridge, the Celtics still would have a hard time matching salaries: Outside the five "core players," only Enes Kanter and Daniel Theis (both big men) are making more than $4 million on Boston's roster.

Seven-footers like Joel Embiid and Brook Lopez could pose a problem for the Celtics in the playoffs, so expect Ainge to do his big man due diligence, even as the C's enter Wednesday as the East's No. 1 seed at 11-2. A major trade at the deadline may be easier said than done, though.

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Clippers, which tips off Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 10 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.