Celtics

Supermax deal not a factor in Anthony Davis' forthcoming decision?

Supermax deal not a factor in Anthony Davis' forthcoming decision?

With each sunrise and sunset, it seems, sprouts new waves in the infinity pool that is Anthony Davis' future rumors.

The latest development comes Friday night from The Athletic's Sam Amick, who says that the lucrative potential of what the New Orleans Pelicans are expected to offer the once-a-generation talent to keep him in the Big Easy through what would be the prime of his career is not the be-all, end-all:

Amid all this escalating noise about Davis and his uncertain future – from the LeBron James flattery in his recent ESPN interview to the Friday report that small-market general managers believe his comments qualified as tampering – there’s this revelation that should concern Pelicans ownership and management far more than all the rest. According to a source with knowledge of Davis’ thinking, he does not see the extra $87.3 million that New Orleans is expected to offer in a five-year, $239.5 million supermax extension this summer as a factor in his eventual decision.

If that’s the only chip they have in this game of AD poker, in other words, then they’re bound to bust.

The Pelicans are the only team that can offer a supermax deal to the five-time All-Star, a five-year deal that can take up to 35 percent of the team's salary cap. Davis can hit free agency in 2020 if he elects not to sign an extension, presumed to be of that supermax ilk, and the Lakers and Celtics have frequently been talked about as potential destinations if so.

MORE ANTHONY DAVIS RUMORS

Davis got a rousing ovation from the Celtics fans in the Pelicans' Dec. 10 loss to Boston at TD Garden, and Davis heard the roars, telling reporters after the game, "I heard it tonight. But I’m just focused on this team. I’m trying to do whatever I can to help this team get wins with the roster we have. It’s been a rocky season so it’s on me to try to figure it out. I know the team follows me. I’m the leader and I’ve got to be the one to make sure that we’re ready to play every night.”

Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry has said the team won't trade Davis "under any circumstance". But should that disposition change between now and the Feb. 7 trade deadline, it won't be to the benefit of the Celtics, who wouldn't be allowed to trade for Davis unless Kryie Irving was included in the deal, due to a little-known rule known colloquially as the "Derrick Rose Rule".

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Does Jayson Tatum deserve MVP consideration? Kendrick Perkins thinks so

Does Jayson Tatum deserve MVP consideration? Kendrick Perkins thinks so

Let's get this out of the way: Giannis Antetokounmpo is the clubhouse leader to win his first NBA MVP award this season.

In leading the Bucks to a league-best 48-8 record, the Greek Freak is averaging 30 points and 13.6 rebounds per game.

But there's another player who might be forcing his way into the conversation, at least according to Kendrick Perkins: Jayson Tatum.

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The 21-year-old is blossoming into an NBA superstar before our very eyes, tying his career high with 41 points in a loss to the Lakers Sunday afternoon at the Staples Center.

How good was Tatum? Jaylen Brown called his performance "surreal." LeBron James called him an "ABSOLUTE PROBLEM." But Perk went even further on ESPN's "Get Up" Monday morning.

"He is a superstar in the making. Listen — Jayson Tatum overnight went from an All-Star to possibly in the MVP conversation," Perkins said. "When you watch Jayson Tatum, before the All-Star break, he killed the Clippers and Kawhi Leonard. Flat-out outplayed them. And then you watched him last night, he was putting on a clinic all across the board. He was in his suitcase. Not his bag. He was in his suitcase."

Tatum's 41-point outburst was the latest in a string of eye-opening performances where the first-time All-Star has taken his game to another level. In February, he's averaging 29.7 points and 7.4 rebounds per game on 48.3 percent shooting (46.8 percent from 3-point land).

Will that make him an MVP candidate? Not this year, but if this trajectory continues, the sky is the limit for Tatum. And if so, Celtics fans will really love how Perkins concluded his thought.

"When you look at Jayson Tatum, I wouldn't be surprised if this kid would be a Celtic for life."

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NBA Power Rankings: Playoff push begins in earnest now

NBA Power Rankings: Playoff push begins in earnest now

LOS ANGELES — The NBA All-Star break is the unofficial starting point for the second half of the season. 

But more than that, it begins in earnest the playoff push that most of the league’s teams will be focused on. 

Teams near the top are trying to secure home-court advantage for as many rounds as possible, while teams that have been middle of the pack are trying to seal up a postseason spot. 

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And then there are those on the outside looking in, teams that have little to no choice in approaching every game with a must-win mentality. 

Doing those things while keeping players relatively healthy and fresh for a postseason run, creates some difficult decisions for coaches and front-offices this time of year. 

“Trying to keep guys healthy for the playoffs … we call that a good problem,” one Western Conference executive whose team is currently on the outside of the playoff picture told NBC Sports Boston. “It means you’ve played well enough to where the playoffs isn’t a concern; it’s where you end up.”

Click here for NBC Sports Boston’s latest NBA Power Rankings.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Trail Blazers, which begins Tuesday at 9 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 10 p.m. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.