According to Himmelsbach, the Pelicans have pushed the Celtics to make guarantees on specific packages they’d be willing to offer for Davis in the summer to ensure that if they keep the All-NBA big man at the deadline, it would be for good reason. Due to an obscure rule related to the designated rookie extension, the C’s are ineligible to acquire AD now as long as Kyrie Irving remains on the roster.
Boston has been reluctant to make any specific promises, since a lot could change in five months. However, sources tell Himmelsbach that the Celtics have made it clear that they’ll be prepared to offer an “explosive” package for Davis when the time comes, and that no player or pick will be off-limits. The club’s collection of assets includes Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and a slew of future first-round picks, including selections from the Kings, Clippers, and Grizzlies.
Himmelsbach’s report covers similar ground to one we relayed earlier today, which indicated that the Pelicans and Celtics have “extensively” discussed Tatum. Boston is understandably unwilling to promise that the former No. 3 pick will be on the table in the offseason, since the landscape could theoretically change significantly between now and then — for instance, Davis could suffer a major injury or Tatum could help lead the C’s to a championship. However, based on various reports, it sounds like the Celtics are giving the Pelicans the impression that Tatum will probably be available.
Davis’ camp has conveyed that Boston isn’t a preferred landing spot for the Pelicans star, but the Celtics are undeterred by those reports, writes Himmelsbach. There’s a belief within the organization that if Davis and Irving are united in the summer, “any unease that either of them has about the future would be washed away,” he adds.
Despite all the rumors swirling around Davis and Irving at the moment, team ownership has made it clear that the focus of this season should be on trying to win a title, per Himmelsbach. The Celtics still believe that’s possible without making any major changes, given their recent hot streak and rise up the Eastern standings.