Celtics

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 vs. Pacers odds: Best NBA picks as C's eye fifth straight win

Celtics vs. Pacers odds: Best NBA picks as C's eye fifth straight win

The Boston Celtics are back to their winning ways ... and so are we.

The Celtics' current hot streak -- four consecutive wins -- coincides with our good luck on the betting front, where we're 4-0 picking the moneyline and point spread in Boston's last two games.

The C's face a tough test Wednesday night when they roll into Bankers Life Fieldhouse to play the Indiana Pacers, who are in the Eastern Conference hunt at 15-9.

How will Wednesday's game shake out? Here are our betting predictions for Celtics-Pacers, as well as two NBA locks against the spread.

(All odds provided by WestGate Superbook.)

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Pacers, which tips off Wednesday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Boston Celtics at Indiana Pacers, 7 p.m. ET

Moneyline: Gordon Hayward showed virtually no rust in his return Monday night as the Celtics rolled to their sixth win in seven games. The Pacers have been inconsistent over the last two weeks, so I think Boston's talent wins out here. Take the Celtics (-120).

Point Spread: Indiana is a pedestrian 5-5-2 against the spread at home this season. The Celtics have won seven of their last games in Indiana and are well-rested after whupping the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Pacers will put up a fight, but Celtics (-1) is the smart bet here.

Point Total: The Celtics boast the NBA's second-best defense. The Pacers are sixth. The total has gone under in nine of Boston's last 12 games and four of Indiana's last five games. Sign me up for the UNDER on the 209.5 point total.

Darren's record picking the Celtics' moneyline, point spread and point total: 32-21-1

NBA Locks of the Night

Los Angeles Clippers at Toronto Raptors (+2.5): If I'm on the Raptors, I really want to beat Kawhi Leonard in his return to Toronto. The Clippers are 5-6 on the road this season, and it should be quite the hostile environment Wednesday. I'm backing the home team.

Atlanta Hawks at Chicago Bulls (-5): The Hawks are coming off a brutal overtime loss to the Miami Heat on Tuesday (Trae Young called game ... for the wrong team) and haven't won the second leg of a back-to-back yet this season. Chalk this up as a scheduled loss.

Darren's record picking NBA locks against the spread: 20-15-1

Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers live stream: Watch NBA game online

Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers live stream: Watch NBA game online

The last time the Celtics faced the Pacers, Boston swept Indiana out of the playoffs with a four-game sweep, with each win coming by 10 points or fewer.

But this year's Pacers club is much different than last year's. Three of Indiana's top four scorers this season — Malcolm Brogdon, T.J. Warren, and Jeremy Lamb — are in their first seasons with the Pacers.

Luckily for the C's, they won't have to contend with Victor Oladipo, who is currently on a rehab assignment in the G-League.

The Celtics are currently riding a four-game win streak and just got Gordon Hayward back in the lineup, while the Pacers are coming off an 11-point loss in Paul George's first game back to Indianapolis since joining the Clippers.

Be sure to tune into NBC Sports Boston for Celtics Pregame Live at 6 p.m. ET, followed by the game at 7 p.m. ET or stream it via the MyTeams app

HOW TO WATCH

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ANALYSIS AND REACTION

BEFORE THE GAME: At 6 p.m., Celtics Pregame Live presented by TD Bank gets you ready for the game with reports from Kyle Draper, Chris MannixMike Gorman, Brian Scalabrine, Chris Forsberg, Tom Haberstroh, and Abby Chin. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.

AT HALFTIME: Tune in to watch a breakdown of the first two quarters on Halftime Live presented by Ace Ticket. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.

AFTER THE GAME: As soon as the game ends, tune to Celtics Postgame Live presented by New England Ford for analysis, commentary and player reaction. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream

Questions on our livestream? Get all your questions answered here on our Streaming FAQ.

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