While the Celtics aren’t permitted to actually complete a trade this week for Pelicans All-Star Anthony Davis while Kyrie Irving remains on their roster, there’s nothing stopping the two teams from talking — and it sounds like there has been plenty of talk.
A source with knowledge of those talks tells Sam Amick of The Athletic that Boston and New Orleans have discussed C’s forward Jayson Tatum “extensively,” adding that Tatum is expected to be a major part of negotiations if the two sides reconnect in the summer.
While the Celtics and Pelicans have apparently had a number of discussions about Tatum, it’s worth noting that Amick stops short of saying Boston has promised to include the former No. 3 overall pick in an offer for Davis in the offseason. As ESPN’s Zach Lowe observes in an in-depth breakdown of the Davis situation, the C’s have vowed to be aggressive in their pursuit of AD if he’s still a Pelican in the summer, but there are no indications that they’ve explicitly agreed to include Tatum in their package.
It’s a somewhat unprecedented situation, Lowe writes, since there are few scenarios in NBA history where a CBA quirk has required a potential trade partner to wait several months to actually complete a deal for a star player. If the Celtics tell the Pelicans now that they’d include Tatum, it’s possible circumstances could change by June — perhaps Davis suffers a major injury or Irving decides to leave Boston, and the C’s rethink their willingness to move Tatum.
The uncertainty surrounding Tatum is just one of many factors that complicate the Pelicans’ decision-making process, but his upside arguably exceeds that of any of the players the Lakers have offered New Orleans, Lowe writes. If the Pelicans wait until the offseason to make a Davis deal, Tatum could be on the table, and New Orleans will also have a clearer sense of the Knicks’ draft position, which looms as a major wild card as well. As such, it might make sense for the Pels to remain patient.
Here’s more on the Davis trade saga:
- According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, league sources expect negotiations between the Pelicans and Lakers to resume before Thursday’s deadline, since L.A. is running out of time and may not have many more avenues to acquiring a star to pair with LeBron James.
- O’Connor also hears from a league source that the wishes of Lonzo Ball and his camp will have no bearing on how the Lakers and Pelicans approach trade negotiations.
- Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com (Insider link) makes the case that it wouldn’t be in the Lakers‘ best interests to give up all their best non-LeBron assets for Davis.
- Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report explores the Lakers‘ fallback options if they don’t trade for Davis this week.