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Rich Paul on Anthony Davis to Celtics: ‘They can trade for him, but it’ll be for one year’

New Orleans Pelicans v Boston Celtics

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 10: Robert Williams #44 of the Boston Celtics defends Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans during the second half of the game at TD Garden on December 10, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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Anthony Davis reportedly wants to join the Lakers or Knicks. Not the Celtics.

The timing of Davis’ trade request – during the season, when the Celtics effectively couldn’t acquire him because Kyrie Irving was already their traded-for designated rookie scale player – was a transparent attempt to avoid Boston. Davis father said he didn’t want his son on the Celtics after how they treated Isaiah Thomas. A report emerged before the deadline Davis believed Irving might not re-sign with Boston, and the Celtics reportedly blamed Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, for planting the “cheap and underhanded” story.

After all that, Boston reportedly still wants to wants to trade for Davis and might have the goods to get him from the Pelicans.

So, Paul is still working to prevent it.

S.L. Price of Sports Illustrated:

Paul confirms that he has warned off Boston management.

“They can trade for him, but it’ll be for one year,” Paul says. “I mean: If the Celtics traded for Anthony Davis, we would go there and we would abide by our contractual [obligations] and we would go into free agency in 2020. I’ve stated that to them. But in the event that he decides to walk away and you give away assets? Don’t blame Rich Paul.”

I appreciate how often Paul has gone on record throughout this process, even getting Davis fined for the initial trade request. Many agents hide exclusively behind the cover of anonymity. Paul is repeatedly putting his name behind these statements.

(He probably often acts as an anonymous source, too. But clearly not always, which is enough to differentiate him.)

Davis won’t sign a contract extension with any team. It’s just financially imprudent. So, any team that trades for him carries the risk of losing him 2020 unrestricted free agency.

So, this is a matter of tone. Threatening to leave after his current contract is the only leverage Davis has in these trade talks. Boston – or any team – can still trade for him, but teams that feel less confident about him re-signing are dissuaded from offering New Orleans as much.

If he gets traded to the Celtics, I’d advise Davis to keep an open mind. Best case, he likes Boston more than he expects and discovers a place he wants to stay long-term – for more money than other teams can offer. Worst case, he follows through with his plan to test free agency. There’s no real downside.

In the meantime, Paul is doing all he can to get his client to a preferred destination. That’s the agent’s job.

It just sometimes gets messy and combative.