BOSTON -- New Orleans star Anthony Davis announcing he wanted to be traded through his agent Rich Paul, sent many teams scrambling to try and start piecing together a package of assets they hope will be convincing enough to get the Pelicans to ship Davis their way.
But it isn’t just front office officials thinking about Davis these days.
So are players, knowing a move involving Davis could include them.
And while the Boston Celtics can’t trade for Davis until July 1, that won’t stop the rumors from swirling about as to which Boston players may potentially be included in a trade package this summer if the Pelicans can’t get a deal done for Davis prior to the Feb. 7 trade deadline.
The possibility of being traded has existed for months, but players don’t really get a sense of how nerve-racking it can be until they’re a couple weeks out from the trade deadline . . . like now.
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Boston isn’t expected to do anything significant to its roster between now and the trade deadline, in part because the Celtics want to have as many quality assets as they can be available if the summer rolls around and Davis remains a member of the New Orleans Pelicans.
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens knows the potential for trades is always out there this time of year, but it’s not something he gives a ton of thought to.
“I learned early on with my 42 players over my first 18 months here,” Stevens said, “that there was a lot (to trade rumors) that’s not true, a little that is true and you don’t really pay attention to any of it until it crosses your desk from somebody that’s involved in the conversations.”
But with a team with so many relatively young players, it becomes even more imperative that a fairly open line of communication exists, because trade rumors do have the potential to impact their play in a negative manner if allowed to fester and not be addressed in a meaningful manner.
“We talk about that stuff with them all the time,” said Stevens, who added, “It’s not my job to be in those conversations. My job is to coach the team, and I’ve never been on a phone call with another GM talking about other players. It’s not my role with this organization, so I’m sure Danny (Ainge) has those conversations all the time, (assistant GM) Mike (Zarren) and that whole group.”
Al Horford, now in his 12th NBA season, knows all too well how this time of year can be one of nervousness and anxiety for younger players, the kind that comprise a significant and integral part of the Celtics roster this season.
Horford said the key lies in how locked in the players are, game-to-game.
“We just need to focus on what’s in front of us,” Horford said. “Those things (trade rumors) are always going to be there. The best thing is probably not read or get into all that stuff. Take it game to game, and just focus on our team and our group as hard as that may be.”
But Horford is quick to acknowledge maintaining that level of focus to block out the white noise that exists around them, is a lot easier said than done.
“Very tricky,” was Horford’s response when I asked him about whether keeping that focus was any harder with a young group like the one he plays with. “The tendency is to go to all the social media stuff, and do that. But I hope that we as a group, keep focusing on each game. I felt tonight our focus was really good. And those things are going to happen, that’s the nature of the business. You have to focus on what you can control.”
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