What does the Anthony Davis trade mean for the Celtics ... and Al Horford?

What does the Anthony Davis trade mean for the Celtics ... and Al Horford?

The Celtics’ youth movement is upon us.

That’s the knee-jerk reaction amid the news that the Los Angeles Lakers have completed a trade to land Anthony Davis, pairing him with LeBron James out west (take a bow, Rich Paul). Suddenly, the futures of Kyrie Irving and Al Horford take center stage and the Celtics’ best path forward might soon be tossing the keys to the car to Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Let’s sift through the ramifications of the Davis-to-LA weekend blockbuster:

* Missing out on Davis seems to only decrease the chances of Irving staying in Boston, as it was starting to feel like landing Davis might have been the only way to make one last run at luring Irving back.

Danny Ainge’s less-than-optimistic tone while addressing Irving’s future last week hinted at the team’s uncertainty in retaining him. Maybe landing Davis would have convinced Irving to ponder a return a bit more. Instead, it’s harder to see how the Celtics convince him to come back given that much of the roster from last season’s head-slapping adventure would remain intact having missed out the top available trade target.

* Assuming Irving is gone, the big question becomes whether Horford is on board with essentially embracing the 2018 playoff core — this time with a healthy Gordon Hayward — and seeing where it can take this team.

Horford has to decide this week if he wants to opt into the final year of his deal, which would pay him $30.1 million. Opting in leaves him vulnerable to a trade but, with Davis off the market, it might give him the peace of mind to accept that big-money year and seek longer-term security next summer.

But the bigger question is whether Horford is on board with seeing how far this young core can go. He got a glimpse of their Kyrie-less potential during that 2018 run to the cusp of the NBA Finals but having admitted the priority at this stage of his career is winning a title, might he desire a deal to a more surefire contender?

It’s been pondered in this space whether there’s a possible deal to be made with the Houston Rockets, a team that’s already thrown up the “open for business” flags. Horford flirted with the Rockets before signing with the Celtics in the summer of 2016 and could be intrigued by trying to get Houston over the hump in the west. Might the Celtics be willing to take back some young talent — Clint Capela the name that invariably arises — knowing the road back to title contention with the young core is a bit longer?

* The 2019 NBA Draft looms on Thursday night and suddenly it feels like the Celtics might be best served to use their pile of first-round picks (14, 20, 22) for swings of the bat in hopes of landing some more young talent to pair with Tatum and Brown. 

Boston brass would still undoubtedly like to push some of those assets into the future, giving them some capital to pair with the future Grizzlies pick in case another marquee name arrived on the trading block. Ultimately, the Celtics might just have to be patient in waiting for the next top-5 guy to become disgruntled. It seems to happen more often than you think lately (see also: Kyrie, Kawhi Leonard, Davis). 

But the draft clock is ticking and, with the AD situation resolved, Boston has to decide fast if it simply wants to go all in on youth or ponder ways to turn those picks into more established talent before they are forced to use them on Thursday.

One thing is a bit more certain: Tatum and Brown might just be the faces of the franchise now and their development could dictate just how fast Boston gets back to title contention.

The Celtics were cautious not to mortgage the farm in pursuing Davis, acutely aware of how damaging it would have been if both Irving and Davis walked away by the summer of 2020.

Boston still has cost-controlled young talent and a pile of draft assets. But it’s clear that Plans A and, maybe Plan B, are slipping away. It’s time to embrace Plan Js — Jaylen and Jayson.

Is Horford on board with Plan J? Is Kyrie truly gone? The Celtics future is starting to come into focus.

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Celtics' Marcus Smart participates in peaceful protest in Boston

File photo

Celtics' Marcus Smart participates in peaceful protest in Boston

Just as his Boston Celtics teammate Jaylen Brown did Saturday in Atlanta, Marcus Smart participated in a peaceful protest Sunday in Boston in the wake of George Floyd's death.

The C's guard was joined by teammate Vincent Poirier and countless others to protest the racial injustices that remain prevalent in the United States of America. Smart talked to NBC Sports Boston's Celtics insider A. Sherrod Blakely and delivered a message capturing why he and so many others are letting their voices be heard.

"We wanted to come out here and let our voice be heard because we stand for the truth, and we stand for justice," Smart told Blakely. "And we won't stop until we get justice. That's really what this is about.

"I just want to say to everyone who thinks this is something more than it is, it's not. Despite color and gender, the truth is the truth, justice is justice, and justice hasn't been served. And people are pissed off about it, so we're here to keep George Floyd's name alive and keep it going and his legacy. Something has to change, and we're here to try to make a change."

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Smart also tweeted out the following message on Sunday:

Smart, Brown, Poirier, and the other high-profile individuals using their platform to peacefully send their message deserve a tremendous amount of credit for their leadership. There's no doubt they're making the Celtics, the city of Boston, and the rest of the country proud.

Celtics' Jaylen Brown participates in peaceful protest in Atlanta

File photo

Celtics' Jaylen Brown participates in peaceful protest in Atlanta

BOSTON -- The death of George Floyd in Minnesota after ex-police officer Derek Chauvin planted his knee firmly on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes, 46 seconds, has brought many throughout the country to protest the rising number of police brutality-related incidents. 

You can count Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown among them. 

Brown was in Atlanta on Saturday participating in a peaceful protest and explained why through his IG Live account why he made the 15-hour drive to be there. 

“Being a celebrity, being an NBA player doesn’t exclude me from those conversations, at all,” Brown said. “First and foremost I’m a black man and I am a member of this community and I grew up on this soil. So, I want to say that first and foremost.”

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Brown was among those in Atlanta walking the streets with signage, making a statement in an undeniably peaceful manner which was in contrast to what was happening in other major cities across America. 

“It’s a peaceful protest; we’re walking, that’s it,” he said. “Raising awareness to some of the injustices we’ve been seeing. It’s not OK. As a young person, you have to listen to our perspective; our voices need to be heard.

Brown added, “I’m 23 years old. I don’t know all the answers. But I feel like how everybody else is feeling, for sure.”