Jayson Tatum

Celtics Notes: A. Davis, Irving, Tatum

When he was interviewed in Charlotte this past weekend about his list of preferred destinations, Anthony Davis said that the Celtics are on that list: “I never said they weren’t on my list.”

However, Davis subsequently added that all 29 teams outside of New Orleans are on his list, which somewhat diminished the impact of him specifically including Boston. Now, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium (video link) is reporting that the C’s may not really be on Davis’ short list.

“I’m still told his four-team list of the Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, [and] Bucks still exists in that order,” Charania said. “… There are a couple other teams – undisclosed right now – that he would also consider. The Celtics, I’m told, are still not a long-term destination for him in his mind. Where the Celtics stand has not changed despite what Anthony Davis said over the weekend.”

It’s hard to know exactly what to make of Davis’ comments at All-Star Weekend – which were a little all over the place, as Sean Deveney of Sporting News outlines – and Charania’s latest report. The long-term appeal of the Celtics for Davis will likely hinge in large part on whether or not Kyrie Irving sticks around, so AD’s camp might be hedging its bets to prepare for either outcome.

In any case, Davis’ wish list may ultimately not matter a whole lot, as the Pelicans plan to negotiate with any team that wants to get involved in the offseason — not just the four teams Davis views as potential long-term homes.

Here’s more on the Celtics:

  • In a conversation with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols (video link), Kyrie Irving spoke about the Celtics’ up-and-down season, his phone call to LeBron James, and whether his upcoming free agency is a distraction. He was also asked whether he agreed with Marcus Morris‘ contention that it hasn’t been a “fun” season in Boston. “It’s been a trying year for us,” Irving said. “We basically have a bunch of young men in our locker room that feel like they’re capable of doing a lot more than what they’re doing. And that’s okay. But there’s a maturity that you have to have, there’s a professionalism that you have to really showcase every single day, and that’s what the great ones do.”
  • A major player in those Davis trade rumors, Jayson Tatum told ESPN at All-Star weekend that he’d like to play for the Celtics for his entire NBA career. In order to achieve that goal, he may have to prove his value in the coming months, showing why Danny Ainge and the C’s shouldn’t include him in an offer for AD, writes Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston.
  • In a separate story for NBC Sports Boston, Forsberg makes the case that the 2018/19 Celtics are a legit contender worthy of fans’ complete attention — even if offseason speculation about Irving, Davis, and the team’s future seems more exciting at the moment.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Marks, Tatum, Irving

The Knicks need to keep on tanking to assure themselves a top five pick in the draft, Steve Popper of Newsday argues. The team with the worst record can’t fall any lower than the fifth pick under the new draft lottery rules, Popper notes, and the Suns currently hold that distinction after New York ended its 18-game losing streak. After the top five players, including Duke’s trio of Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish, there’s an apparent dropoff in talent. The team with the second-worst record has a 20% chance of falling to the No. 6 slot, Popper adds.

We have more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets have made so much progress over the last three seasons under GM Sean Marks that they’re in play for top-level free agents, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Brooklyn has turned into a playoff-caliber team under Marks’ guidance. “Things surrounding the team probably look a lot more attractive to the outside,” Marks told Lewis. “We’re a more attractive destination. The young guys we know are going to be Nets for the foreseeable future, we’re proud of their development and that’s a pretty good foundation. People have taken notice and said, ‘Hey, I [could] play with that group.”
  • Boston hasn’t played like champions most of the season but one of its young stars says they’ll end up with the Larry O’Brien trophy. Jayson Tatum declared to ESPN’s Rachel Nichols (hat tip to Nick Goss of NBC Sports Boston) that the Celtics are going all the way. “We’re gonna win the Finals this year,” Tatum said. “Feb. 16, Jayson Tatum says (the Celtics) are going to win the Finals this year.”
  • Kyrie Irving agreed to some extent with Marcus Morris‘ criticism shortly before the All-Star break that the Celtics weren’t playing hard enough or having enough fun, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald relays. Boston won its last two games before the break after Morris’ comments. “Well, I mean, there was some truth into it,” Irving said. “You know, we obviously understand that we have a lot of talent in our locker room, so it’s been a lot to manage. But we’ve come out pretty successful — obviously not as successful as we would like to be, but that’s just overall the attitude that you have to have in order to win in this league.”

Celtics Notes: Tatum, Irving, Draft Picks

Jayson Tatum has heard his name in trade rumors a lot lately, but he’s accepting it as part of life in the NBA, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Tatum is considered a key figure in the Celtics‘ push to acquire Anthony Davis, and although rumors have quieted somewhat with the passing of the trade deadline, they are sure to ramp up again this summer.

“I get asked that question a lot,” Tatum said about the trade talk. “And my response is always the same; control what I can control, I don’t take it personal. I understood coming in that it is a business. They have to make the best decision for them, whatever that may be. Especially right now; I can’t control it.”

Tatum’s on-court performance hasn’t suffered in the wake of the rumors, as Blakely points out that his stats have remained constant since Davis’ trade request became public. Showing star potential at age 20, Tatum may be in Davis’ position some day, but for now he is on the second season of a four-year rookie contract and has no control over where he plays.

“You learn pretty quickly that when you are under contract, you don’t have too much say-so,” he added.

There’s more from Boston this morning:

  • During All-Star media events Saturday, LeBron James spoke further about his phone call with Kyrie Irving last month, relays Chelsea Howard of The Sporting News. Irving called James to apologize for some of the things he did in Cleveland and said he understands the situation better now that he is a veteran leader with the Celtics. “I think I’ve always loved Kyrie, from before I met him, until when I became his teammate, to even now,” James said. “So the phone call, more than for me, I think just to see his growth … It takes a real man and a real person — and a real person to understand who they are — to be able to call, or to do anything and be able to see their wrongdoings or believe they have some wrongdoings.”
  • If Irving decides to leave Boston, he could affect the fate of several teams, notes Danny Leroux of The Athletic. The Celtics would lose one of their top talents and their best hope of signing Davis to a long-term deal if they do acquire him in a trade. The Knicks, Lakers and Clippers all have room to make a major impact in free agency and might welcome Irving if he becomes available.
  • Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston checks on the status the three first-round picks the Celtics could be owed this summer and finds that two of them may not convey. The Grizzlies’ choice is top-eight protected, while the Clippers’ selection will only be moved if they make the playoffs.

Pelicans Notes: Davis, Holiday, Tatum

Chatter surrounding the Pelicans sitting Anthony Davis for the rest of the season resulted in the league informing the franchise that there would be consequences if the All-Star doesn’t play, sources tell Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. The NBA referenced the rules put in place two seasons ago restricting teams from resting healthy players. The Pelicans were told the fine would be $100K for every game that Davis sat.

New Orleans’ front office met with Davis after the trade deadline passed to discuss the plan for the rest of the season. Davis expressed his desire to play as many games as possible as the season winds down. The team decided it would act “ethically” and give Davis the role he had prior to his latest injury with a few caveats.

Davis will not play in back-to-backs and it’s possible that his minutes could be reduced. Davis will get to choose which end of the back-to-back he will play for the remainder of the season, sources tell Windhorst. After tonight’s tilt with Minnesota, the team has 26 games remaining.

Here’s more from New Orleans:

  • Will the Celtics offer Jayson Tatum to the Pelicans in exchange for Davis over the summer? Sean Deveney of Sporting News confirms previous reports indicating while Boston has made no promises, the Pelicans were left with the impression that Tatum will be on the table in future trade talks.
  • The Celtics were upset about the news of Kyrie Irving‘s level of interest in New York as they feel the story was planted by Davis’ agent in an attempt to deter the team from being comfortable with promising a haul to the Pelicans for Davis. “It was cheap and underhanded,” a source tells Deveney.
  • The Pelicans are expected to watch Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina and Dennis Smith Jr. closely over the remainder of the season, Zach Lowe of ESPN.com writes. Lowe contends that the Knicks will need the Pelicans to increase their interest in at least one of their prospects if they don’t land the No. 1 pick and are going to have a chance at trading for Davis this summer.
  • Jrue Holiday has no interest in being on a lottery-bound team and if the Pelicans eventually trade Davis, his level of content will depend on what comes back in the trade, Lowe adds in the same piece.

Latest On Anthony Davis

Some members of the Pelicans organization want to get the Anthony Davis trade done today to eliminate the public relations distraction, but those feelings don’t go all the way to the top, according to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link). The NFL’s Saints remain the priority for owner Gayle Benson and VP Mickey Loomis, who aren’t bothered by the Davis situation.

There’s more news about the top name on the trade market:

  • The Lakers’ last offer to the Pelicans involved Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac, Josh Hart and a pair of first-round picks, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7. He suggests the Celtics are prepared to offer Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, Robert Williams, Al Horford (assuming he opts in) and possibly three first-round picks this summer.
  • Davis will pressure the Pelicans to start playing him if he’s not dealt before the deadline, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin (Twitter link). “Every game,” a source said. Davis has been sidelined with a fractured left index finger, but recently received medical clearance.
  • Gambadoro expects Davis to be in the lineup for tomorrow’s game against Minnesota (Twitter link).

Celtics Reluctant To Make Promises But Prepared To Offer ‘Explosive’ Package For AD

The Pelicans reached out to the Celtics this week and have engaged in talks about the possible framework of a trade for Anthony Davis, reports Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe.

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.

Celtics, Pelicans Have Extensively Discussed Tatum

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.

Latest Anthony Davis Trade Rumors

Monday was an eventful day for the Anthony Davis rumor mill, as news broke that Davis’ camp had provided the Pelicans with a list of four teams – the Lakers, Knicks, Clippers, and Bucks – with which he’d be willing to sign long-term. Around the same time, the Lakers reportedly increased their offer for Davis, proposing a deal that would give New Orleans young players, multiple first-round picks, and salary relief. However, the Pels continue to lean toward hanging onto Davis beyond the deadline.

That Lakers offer – which includes Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, two first-round picks, three veterans for salary-matching purposes, and the Lakers taking back Solomon Hill – is the strongest pitch L.A. has made for Davis. However, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, the Lakers have felt that their conversations with the Pelicans have been “one-sided,” and they’re becoming increasingly pessimistic that New Orleans will make a deal with them this week.

The Pelicans have yet to provide the Lakers with a counter-offer, but in order to seriously consider Davis to the Lakers this week they’d want to be compensated – or, more accurately, “overcompensated” – for passing up on the chance to see what the offseason would bring, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. According to Woj, GM Dell Demps and the Pels are seeking more draft picks from the Lakers — they want a “historic” haul of draft assets that would include four first-rounders, along with multiple second-round picks.

Wojnarowski writes that the Pelicans believe any offer the Lakers make now will still be available to them during the offseason, and multiple rival GMs think that New Orleans may use L.A.’s final offer this week as a baseline for negotiations in the summer.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has, of course, been urging the Pelicans to wait until the offseason, when the designated rookie rule restricting Boston from acquiring Davis will no longer apply. League sources tell Wojnarowski that the C’s have “promised to be aggressive” with their assets at that point as they pursue Davis.

According to Chris Mannix of SI.com, the Celtics have “refused to directly dangle” Jayson Tatum at this point, but the Pelicans have received the impression that nothing and no one would be off the table this summer in discussions with Boston. The Pelicans are “enamored” with Tatum, per Mannix, who suggests that Tatum’s franchise-player potential is higher than that of anyone in the Lakers’ offer. Acquiring a player with All-NBA potential in an AD trade is reportedly a goal for New Orleans.

Davis’ camp has repeatedly made it clear that Boston isn’t a preferred destination for the All-NBA big man, but that strong anti-Celtics stance may be posturing in an effort to push AD to the Lakers. Ainge is unconcerned that the C’s aren’t on Davis’ wish list, and there’s little that would dissuade him from aggressively pursuing AD in the offseason, Mannix writes.

Here are a few more Davis-related items to kick off Tuesday:

  • While the Knicks are one of the teams on Davis’ wish list, they haven’t re-engaged the Pelicans since trading Kristaps Porzingis last week, sources tell Wojnarowski. Winning the draft lottery would be the Knicks’ best path to building a viable offer for Davis, which is one more reason why the Pelicans could be incentivized to wait until the offseason to make a move.
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has not been included in any of the Lakers‘ offers for Davis, since he has the ability to veto a trade and has shown no interest in going to the Pelicans, per Tania Ganguli and Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Although the Lakers and KCP’s camp have been exploring possible destinations for the veteran wing, he appears unlikely to be moved this week, one source tells the Times duo.
  • The Suns have reached out to the Pelicans and Lakers and let them know that they’d have interest in Lonzo Ball and would be open to joining a potential Davis trade as a third team, according to Ganguli and Turner. Ball’s father LaVar said on Monday that he wants to see his son land in Phoenix if he’s traded by the Lakers.
  • If Davis remains in New Orleans through the deadline, there’s a “real possibility” that he and the Pelicans could agree to a limited playing schedule for the season’s final two months, according to Wojnarowski. That decision has yet to be made though.

Pelicans Leaning Toward Keeping Davis Past Deadline

The Lakers are fighting an uphill battle to finalize a deal for Anthony Davis before the trade deadline, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. There’s significant support within the Pelicans organization to retain Davis for the remainder of the season and revisit trade talks during the offseason, when several new and different scenarios would be available to them, Wojnarowski adds.

The Lakers are growing increasingly pessimistic the Pelicans will make a deal with them, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN tweets.

The Lakers upped the ante on Monday in their zeal to acquire Davis, who can become a free agent in the summer of 2020. They are presently offering the Pelicans a package built around three young starters — Brandon IngramKyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball— and two first-round picks. They’re also willing to take on Solomon Hill‘s contract, which runs through next season.

Los Angeles president Magic Johnson had multiple phone conversations with New Orleans GM Dell Demps on Monday. Davis expanded his list of teams that he’d consider signing with in the long term besides the Lakers, including the Bucks, Clippers and Knicks.  But the Clippers and Bucks have yet to make offers for Davis and the Knicks haven’t contacted Demps since trading Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas, league sources told Wojnarowski.

The Celtics remain anxious to trade for Davis during the offseason and pair him with Kyrie Irving, though their plan to pursue Davis remains unaffected by whatever Irving might do in free agency. The Celtics remain confident they’ll re-sign Irving, Wojnarowski adds.

New Orleans is hopeful the Celtics might include their top young player, Jayson Tatum, along with a package of first-round picks. By waiting past the deadline, the Pelicans would also have a better idea what type of first-round picks the Celtics could convey to them.

Trade Rumors: Davis, Hill, Ball, Mavs, Favors

One key to an Anthony Davis trade is whether the Pelicans can acquire a player with All-NBA potential as part of the package. That’s among the priorities for New Orleans’ front office, which is also seeking young talent, draft picks and salary-cap relief for Davis, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. If the Pelicans view Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma or Lonzo Ball as that type of player — all of whom are rumored to be in the latest offer from the Lakers — that would increase the possibility of Davis going to Los Angeles. If New Orleans sees that potential in the Celtics’ Jayson Tatum, the team may wait until the offseason, when Boston has the freedom to trade for Davis.

We have more trade buzz from around the league:

  • The Pelicans are hoping to dump Solomon Hill‘s contract in any trade involving Davis and if the Lakers were to acquire him, they would use the stretch provision on his contract, Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times tweets. Hill is making $12.52MM this season with another guaranteed $12.76MM next season. That three-year stretch would count as $4,257,927 annually and the Lakers would also have an empty roster charge of $897,158 added during the offseason if they waived him, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets.
  • Lonzo Ball‘s outspoken father is at it again, telling ESPN that if his son gets traded, he wants him to land with the Suns, Ohm Youngmisuk tweets. “We want to be in LA. But if he’s traded, I don’t want Lonzo in New Orleans,” LaVar Ball said. “Phoenix is the best fit for him. And I am going to speak it into existence.”
  • In the aftermath of the blockbuster deal with the Knicks for Kristaps Porzingis, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says the team is laying low prior to Thursday’s trade deadline, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News tweets. “We’re not actively pursuing anything,” Cuban said.
  • The Wizards have significant interest in Jazz forward Derrick Favors, according to Tony Jones of The Athletic. Favors has been rumored to be part of the package Utah would send to the Grizzlies for Mike Conley. The Jazz are also interested in Otto Porter Jr. and Washington would want Favors in any deal involving its small forward, Jones adds. However, the Wizards are considered unlikely to move Porter this week.