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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