The Anthony Davis plot thickens by the hour.

The superstar big man officially has requested a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans, meaning he's fair game ahead of the Feb. 7 trade deadline. But Davis can hit unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2020, and there's a belief he prefers signing a long-term contract with the Los Angeles Lakers at that time.

Here's the latest from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski early Tuesday morning:

... Multiple league sources expect the agent (Rich Paul of Klutch Sports) and star (Davis) to soon deliver word throughout the league that Davis' preferred destination is the Lakers and he'll become a rental player until 2020 with a trade anywhere else.

That's bad news for the Boston Celtics, who reportedly have been coveting Davis for years. But according to Wojnarowski, Davis' long-term intentions don't preclude Boston from bringing him in as a one-season rental.

GM Danny Ainge is undeterred on making a trade for Davis, even without an assurance that Davis would agree to an extension with the Celtics, league sources said. Boston has been calling New Orleans for the past year-plus on Davis, and has gathered multiple first-round picks and young players to include in a package for him.

Davis has a strong relationship with (Kyrie) Irving, and Boston knows that trading for Davis would assuredly perish any possibility of Irving changing his mind and leaving the Celtics in free agency this summer.


Thanks to the Rose Rule, the Celtics can't trade for Davis before the deadline without moving Irving. That means the Lakers have leverage before Feb. 7 to swing a trade with the Pelicans.

Boston can make the strongest offer to New Orleans, however, which means the Pelicans would be wise to wait until the summer to field offers from both clubs. Per Wojnarowski, New Orleans won't make a deal before the deadline unless it's offered an "overwhelming" trade package.

So, what does this all mean for the Celtics? They may have to sell the farm for Davis only to see him bolt for L.A. in a year, which is bad. But acquiring Davis may convince Irving to stay in Boston long-term and give the C's at least one year of an AD-Kyrie duo that could result in a championship.

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