Celtics

NBA rumors: Celtics ready to offer "explosive package" for Anthony Davis

NBA rumors: Celtics ready to offer "explosive package" for Anthony Davis

The Boston Celtics, as you've probably heard by now, cannot acquire Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans before Thursday's 3 p.m. ET NBA trade deadline, but that hasn't stopped these teams from discussing what offers might look like when the C's can enter the bidding for the superstar center in the offseason.

The C's, according to the Boston Globe's Adam Himmelsbach, have told the Pelicans they will make a compelling offer for Davis' services.

Sources said the Pelicans have sought guarantees from the Celtics surrounding specific packages, but the Celtics have been reluctant to make absolute promises, simply because so much can transpire in five months, such as injuries. Nevertheless, sources said, the Celtics have made it clear that they will be ready and willing to offer an explosive package when the time arrives, and that no specific player will be off limits in negotiations.

There are a couple challenges for Boston right now, and the most important one probably is convincing the Pelicans not to trade the superstar center before this week's deadline. 

The Los Angeles Lakers have made a strong push for Davis ahead of the deadline. L.A. reportedly has offered nearly its entire young core plus multiple draft picks for Davis, only to be rejected by a New Orleans front office looking for a historic offer

The Celtics need to persuade the Pelicans that their offer would beat the Lakers' best package, but it could be hard to do that without making any promises. Second-year forward Jayson Tatum is the best asset the C's can dangle for Davis and is a better prospect than any of the Lakers' talented young players. Tatum, according to a recent report from The Athletic, is "expected to be a major part of the talks when June rolls around." Among the problems with trading Tatum is it would be tough giving up on him without an assurance from Davis that he'd re-sign when his contract expires after the 2019-20 campaign. Tatum is not the type of player you typically trade for a rental. 

Davis' father made it clear last week he doesn't want his son to play in Boston, but all reports since that revelation indicate the Celtics still want to acquire the veteran big man.

Luckily for the Celtics, Thursday's deadline will provide a checkpoint in this process. If Davis is still a Pelicans player after 3 p.m. ET, Boston should feel better about its chances of making a trade in the offseason.

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Boston Sports Breakfast Pod: Isaiah Thomas returns as Nuggets top Celtics

Boston Sports Breakfast Pod: Isaiah Thomas returns as Nuggets top Celtics

It's an emotional night at the Garden and it ends with a thud for the Celtics, who lost to the Nuggets after Isaiah Thomas is saluted in the first quarter.

1:26 - Brian Scalabrine and Kyle Draper break down the Celtics' 114-105 loss to the Denver Nuggets and discuss everything from the game that didn’t have to do with Isaiah.

5:54 - We hear from I.T. after the game as he touches on a variety of topics from his reaction to the tribute video he received to the possibility of him returning to Boston.

11:50 - Speaking of a return to the Green for Thomas, A. Sherrod Blakely thinks that Isaiah could be back with the Celtics as soon as next season. Him, Gary Tanguay and Trenni Kusnierek debate if I.T. would be able to handle a lesser role with the team.

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Brad Stevens-Isaiah Thomas bond as strong as ever

Brad Stevens-Isaiah Thomas bond as strong as ever

BOSTON -- As the Celtics and Nuggets locker rooms cleared out, Isaiah Thomas was doing what he has done quite a bit of when he was in Boston and since he left - talking with Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. 

The two have a connection that - even after Thomas left and is now on his third team in less than two years - is extremely tight. 

No surprise Stevens was among the biggest fans of the video tribute for Thomas following the first timeout in the first quarter of Denver's 114-105 victory on Monday night.

“Well-deserved ten times over,” said Stevens when asked about the reaction of the fans to Thomas’ video. “You know, like I can’t say enough great things about Isaiah. I could sit up here all night and certainly that video tribute was great. Our people did a great job on it; it was very  - it was emotional and it was - it could’ve lasted a lot longer. So, greatly appreciative of our time together and it was…I was glad that he got that moment.”

Celtics forward Marcus Morris echoed similar sentiments. 

“Great moment, man, for a guy like that who’s put his heart and soul into everything he did,” Morris told reporters after the game. “He deserved every second of that. Wish him nothing but the best down the road, just happy to see him out there.”

Thomas, who returned to the TD Garden for the first time healthy enough to play since being traded in 2017, described the tribute video as “special” before adding, “It was emotional. I almost cried. Yeah, almost. That was everything. That meant a lot.”

The same can be said for his relationship with Stevens, one in which the two have stayed in touch with conversations and text messages being exchanged according to Thomas, on a monthly basis. 

“He’s always somebody that sends a really nice text no matter what they’re going through or what I’m going through,” Thomas said of Stevens. “We stay in contact. He’s a big part of my career; the best coach I’ve ever been coached by.”

In Thomas’ two-plus seasons with the Celtics, he went from being a reserve who could provide an offensive lift off the bench, to becoming a two-time All-Star who evolved into the face of the franchise for his clutch shooting, particularly in the fourth quarter.

But a hip injury in the team’s 2017 playoff run sidelined him for the final two games of the Eastern Conference finals, and he was part of a blockbuster trade later that summer that shipped him off to Cleveland while Boston got six-time All-Star Kyrie Irving in return. 

Irving, who had spent his entire NBA career in Cleveland before demanding a trade in the summer of 2017 that eventually landed him in Boston, can understand the deep-rooted connections that Thomas feels with the Boston community. 

“You have a plan where you'd like to stay somewhere then the organization moves in another direction,” Irving told reporters. “We respect all those guys who are in the top positions to make those decisions but you can just see that the connection that guys have with fans that they build in the community sticks with them for the rest of their careers and the fans support them for the rest of their careers, for the most part at least. It’s just awesome. 

Irving added, “It’s well documented what he’s done here. For me, it’s a unique position because I’m the one that got traded for him. I just want to see him do well. We got drafted the same year. He’s dealt with a lot of BS in his career, just trying to be the underdog all of the time instead of getting the opportunity he deserves. Boston gave him that opportunity and he flourished. He’ll be back at the top of his game in no time. You don’t ever got to worry about a talented guy like that finding a job in the NBA and making an impact somewhere.”

And while Thomas has made it clear that his focus at the moment is doing all he can to help the Nuggets go deep as possible in the postseason (their win over Boston made them playoff-eligible for the first time since 2013), Thomas has made it clear that he’s more than open to the idea of coming back to Boston. 

“Why not? If the opportunity presents itself, that would be everything,” Thomas said. “I’m a Nugget right now. I’m happy to be here. The Nuggets organization has taken me in with open arms and given me a chance to work my way back on my time; I can’t thank them enough. But if that opportunity is there [to come back to Boston], I’m open.”

And that opportunity he speaks of includes more than just a shot at playing, but playing for Stevens, who remains an integral part of Thomas’ life.

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