How latest Knicks rumor involving Anthony Davis could impact Celtics

How latest Knicks rumor involving Anthony Davis could impact Celtics

The Anthony Davis trade sweepstakes appears to be heating up, but could the New York Knicks be wavering in their interest in acquiring the New Orleans Pelicans center?

The Pelicans reportedly have told interested teams what type of assets they are looking to acquire in exchange for the superstar center. The asking price for Davis understandably is sky-high, and every team interested in Davis must weigh the risk of him leaving in 2020 as an unrestricted free agent.

It's a risky scenario, and according to Ian Begley of SNY, some people with the Knicks are hesitant to give up premium assets for the 26-year-old big man.

The Pelicans, according to an ESPN report, weren't enamored by any offer the Knicks or any other suitors had made for Davis. So the Knicks had engaged in some dialogue with teams in an effort to improve their offer for Davis, per SNY sources. It's unclear how far along -- if at all -- any of that dialogue was, but some people in the organization were uncomfortable with the idea of trading away significant assets for Davis, citing the way things played out for New York in the wake of the Carmelo Anthony trade, per SNY sources.

The Knicks have some nice trade assets, highlighted by 2018 first-round pick Kevin Knox and the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Knox has a promising future after a rollercoaster rookie campaign, but he's not one of the elite young talents in the NBA. The No. 3 pick certainly is valuable, but many experts believe this is a two-player draft coming up. New York doesn't have any established young star to offer for Davis, either.

What looked like a promising offseason to come for the Knicks could end up being terrible. How so?

The potentially serious Achilles injury suffered by Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday night could throw a wrench into New York's summer plans. If Durant remains in Golden State as he recovers from his injury and doesn't go to the Knicks in free agency this summer, could Kyrie Irving decide to re-sign with the Boston Celtics? If that happens, would the Celtics be more aggressive in their pursuit of Davis? An Irving-Davis duo in Boston could be enough to vault the C's to the top of the Eastern Conference contenders list, especially if the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers lose key free agents in July. 

Boston reportedly has coveted Davis for years, and they have the quality trade assets to make a strong offer to New Orleans. The Celtics' assets, at least on paper, trounce the Knicks' collection of young players and draft picks. The C's have talented young players such as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, established veterans including Marcus Smart and Gordon Hayward, three 2019 first-round picks and other future draft selections of value to dangle in trade packages for Davis. The Knicks would be foolish to go all-in for a Davis trade if Durant and Irving both decide not to sign in New York as free agents next month.

There are so many possible scenarios to consider as the start of free agency and the draft near. Durant's injury could impact several teams' summer plans, including where the Pelicans trade Davis.

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Bulpett: Celtics and Al Horford have discussed contract extension

Bulpett: Celtics and Al Horford have discussed contract extension

Now that Anthony Davis is off the market, the next item on the Celtics' offseason to-do list is Al Horford's player option. By this upcoming Tuesday (6/18), Horford must decide whether to pick up his $30.1 million option to return to the Celtics for at least one more season or opt-out and hit free agency. 

The deadline can be moved back to June 29 at the latest if the both Horford and the Celtics agree, and Adam Himmelsbach reported Saturday that Horford remains undecided on his player option, so it's possible we have to wait to get a resolution to the 33-year-old's contract situation. 

However, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, Horford and the Celtics have discussed a new contract if the big man opts out at a lower salary figure but with more years on the deal. 

Horford has until Tuesday to opt in to $30,123,015 for next season, but the sides have been discussing a plan where he comes in at a lower number next season and gets two more years tacked on in a new deal. It’s not known whether the way things have played out over the last couple of weeks will have an effect on Horford’s outlook.

What Bulpett might mean in the last sentence there is the 'eroding' belief that Kyrie Irving will re-sign with the Celtics, and Boston's choice to hold on to their young stars in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown in Anthony Davis trade discussions. 

There is little question to whether Horford can still contribute to this Celtics team, with or without Irving, but at 33 he doesn't really fit the same contention window at Tatum and Brown would. If Horford wants to contend during the latter part of his career, he could opt in and request a trade or opt out and sign elsewhere. Danny Ainge considers Horford a priority for the Celtics this offseason, so the age factor might not matter for either party here. 

Davis and Irving were the biggest variables for the Celtics this summer, but Horford's situation will also have a major impact on the direction of this team. As is the theme with the 2019 NBA offseason, nothing is certain. 

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Reports: Celtics were open to including Jayson Tatum in Anthony Davis trade

Reports: Celtics were open to including Jayson Tatum in Anthony Davis trade

Not long after the news broke on the Pelicans agreeing to trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, three first round picks and two pick swaps, Marc Stein reported that the Celtics refused to include Jayson Tatum in a potential trade package. This opened the door for LA to get LeBron James a legitimate running mate and form its strongest roster since the days of Kobe Bryant. 

It was understandable why the Celtics would refuse to include Tatum in a deal. For one thing, the team's belief in Kyrie Irving re-signing has reportedly 'eroded,' and Rich Paul had stated publicly that Davis would leave Boston next summer.  

But according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, the Celtics weren't completely against including Tatum in a trade.

But in the current situation, that same source indicated that, contrary to reports, the Celts weren’t entirely closed to the idea of including Jayson Tatum in the deal, but that there wouldn’t have been much else included.

He then goes on to explain that when the Lakers offered a deal including three young players and a multitude of first round picks for Davis, the Celtics would in no way be willing to mortgage their future for a likely one-year rental. 

The notion of the Celtics' reluctance to offer a package with Tatum and a number of draft picks was reiterated by ESPN's Ramona Shelburne on Sunday as well. 

The Boston Celtics were serious about trading for Davis, as well. They were willing to discuss young, talented players such as Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, according to sources close to the negotiations. But the Celtics were never going to give up as much as the Lakers.

During ESPN's NBA Mock Draft special earlier this week, Adrian Wojnarowski said, "If the Lakers are drafting at No. 4 on draft night, they're in trouble because that means they didn't make an Anthony Davis trade. Right now, they are not a frontrunner or even really a major consideration among any of the elite free agents."

Based on these reports, it doesn't seem like Boston had a good chance at Davis while the uncertainty of Irving loomed. The Lakers had to make this deal, and they paid the price to get a top-five player in the world. Now we'll see how the Celtics rebound and try to get their contender status back if Irving does in fact leave. 

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