Danny Ainge really wants Anthony Davis-will he get him?
Remember how Danny Ainge finagled the NBA Championship team featuring Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo. I have written on CelticsLife several times that Danny covets certain players and will go to great lengths to get them. It started with Rondo who was chosen 21st in the 2006 NBA draft by Phoenix. Danny wanted him and traded for him. Garnett was the next target, and Danny wanted him badly.
Ainge knew Kevin would not come to anything but a winning team, so Danny traded for Ray Allen. That set the stage for Garnett coming to the Celts, and Danny worked a trade. Garnett was the key. A terrific talent. Big, mobile two-way player with almost unlimited talent. Sounds a bit like Anthony Davis, doesn't it?
Trader Danny was absolutely focused on acquiring Gordon Hayward. We lost Avery Bradley in the process, and that hurt all of us, including Danny. Most of us did not see the Kyrie Irving trade coming, but Danny coveted him and gave up a lot (including Brooklyn's first rounder) to get him.
Stay with me on this one. According to Merriam-Webster, covet means to desire (what belongs to another) inordinately or culpably. Don't leave me. The same dictionary defines inordinate as exceeding reasonable limits. Go back to my highlighted bit in the first paragraph referencing covets and great lengths. Sounds like the definitions, right?
Now to Anthony Davis. He is like Kevin Garnett revisited. Similar size, mobility, talent and determination. Kevin would fit today's NBA styles like a glove, and so does Davis. You better bet that Danny has his eyes on him. Ainge wants to win now and/or the next three years. At age 24, The Brow is young and fits that timeline. There are two keys to this potential move. The first is Danny's quote via the Boston Globe's Gary Dzen:
We have a lot of good players, but we need some great ones.
The second key is Anthony's injury history. He averaged only 65 games/season in his first four years in the league. He played 75 games last season. Good sign. He may be over the injury bug.
So let's see if we can define a great player as Danny sees him. Is Anthony Davis one. Absolutely. He's one right now. How about Kyrie and Gordon. Not quite yet, but maybe this season. And as Lowe stated, Kyrie is an attraction for other stars, such as Ray Allen and Paul Pierce were for Garnett. How about Al Horford? I see Al as a very good player, but not great. Here is ESPN's Zach Lowe's take on a possible Davis trade:
If Anthony Davis becomes available -- and the Celtics' eyes are very much trained on him -- Boston could throw together a package more compelling than just about anyone else's. Irving would be an indirect part of that package. The NBA's superstar class respects his ballsy showman's game. (Ainge has long liked Irving more than most of his peers for some of the same reasons, sources say.)
Ainge no doubt envisions a Big Three of Davis/Irving/Gordon supported by able, willing role players. I see Kyrie as being a blend of Rondo and Allen. Gordon has the potential to rival Paul's output, and Anthony is very similar to Kevin. If the New Orleans Pelicans duo of DeMarcus Cousins and The Brow does not work out, opportunity might knock. Guess who is ready to answer the door, either on this potential opportunity or something else.
Make no mistake about this. Danny wants to win. I know what you are saying. Doesn't everyone? Not like Danny. The stories are endless. Playoff game, three-on-three pickup, Danny with his barely-past-toddler-age boys. Made no difference. He wanted to win them all. It started here with BYU against Notre Dame. The sequence is famous. Watch the very brief video of Danny determined to win the game. He was always one of the fastest players end-to-end with the ball, and that continued in the pros.
The Pelicans' DeMarcus Cousins becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. The supporting cast for Cousins and Davis is not great, so big minutes for both seem a reality. Frustration, fatigue and injuries can result. Ainge will be watching New Orleans closely in the early going. DeMarcus can grow unhappy quite readily. Two bigs, even very talented ones, may not work well in today's NBA.
The price for Davis, should he become available, would be very high, perhaps too high in the eyes of many fans. Early in the season, look for certain young, promising Celts to be showcased. I don't see many young bigs in the league with Davis' talent, mobility and versatility. He is perfect for the Celtics. There may never be another Kevin Garnett, but I truly believe The Brow belongs here. So does Danny. The is no NBA commandment thou shalt not covet thy opposing GM's superstar.
Top Photo credit: Ronald Cortes/Getty Images
Bottom photo credit: 1981 File/Associated Press
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