BOSTON -- No one said Boston’s efforts in acquiring Anthony Davis from New Orleans was going to be easy.
And when David Griffin, executive vice president of basketball operations for the Pelicans, was brought on board, knowing his track record of success when it comes to deal-making… you knew it was only going to get trickier and a lot tougher for Boston.
Well, now that Griffin has reportedly made it known what his parameters for the moment are in getting a deal done for Davis — an All-Star, a young talent with All-Star potential and a pair of first-round picks — the Celtics have to feel fortunate that he also said a deal would likely involve a third team.
That means there’s the increased potential for Boston to swing a deal for the perennial All-Star and do so without having to necessarily gut its roster.
Now any deal involving Boston acquiring Davis will be a tough, painful one to accept because you know it’s going to involve Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown or both players.
But by injecting a third team in the mix, Boston has a shot at coming out of this without having to subject the roster to a scorching-of-the-earth shake-up.
There’s always some level of risk involved when making any kind of trade, regardless of how Uber-talented the player may be.
But with Davis set to hit the free agent market in the summer of 2020, any team trading for him runs the risk of him showing up for one season and taking off to another franchise afterwards.
But by acquiring him with fewer assets than a straight team-to-team trade would entail, his potential departure doesn’t feel as much like a potential crash landing if he leaves, but more like a turbulent descent onto the runway that we know as NBA basketball.
The success Toronto has had with gambling on trading for Kawhi Leonard has certainly made some more confident that they have a situation with their franchise that could be enticing enough for Davis to do a one-year stint and win enough to where re-signing doesn’t seem all that far-fetched.
But there’s one slight hiccup with that narrative.
Leonard hasn’t re-signed with the Raptors yet and may not, even after leading them to the NBA Finals and potentially the franchise’s first NBA championship.
The Raptors have done all they can to make their case as to why Leonard should stay long-term, but in the end that may not be enough.
Teams trading for Davis will surely be better with him on the roster in terms of wins and losses, but they will also do like the Raptors did and spend an entire season walking on eggshells for fear that the slightest slight or off-handed remarks or comments taken out of context, may wind up being what makes him decide to play elsewhere.
The Celtics did much of that this past season with Kyrie Irving, whose return didn’t have the kind of difference-making impact that Boston was hoping for.
After advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2018 while Irving (knee) and Gordon Hayward (ankle) were out with physical ailments, both were back with the main group before getting bounced in the second round of the playoffs by Milwaukee last month.
Both players struggled, but Irving’s problems stood out in large part because of the bravado he spoke of prior to the series, which ended with the Bucks winning four in a row after dropping Game 1 at home.
Do the Celtics want to go through that again?
Of course not.
But if they can add Davis without having to gut their roster, something that seems less likely if you’re talking about adding a third team to the mix, Boston won’t hesitate to take yet another gamble on a difference-making superstar like Davis who has the potential to do what matters most to this franchise: Raise Banner 18.
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