There have been reports that Davis hasn’t moved from that stance [That he still wants out], and if such is the case, sources here told the Herald the Pelicans will reach out to the Celtics as the most obvious trade partner. The Celts may still not be sure about a deal because it’s not known yet what the Pels will want in return for the All-Star, but there seems to be a belief that they’d be able to work things out.
It’s also within the realm of possibility that another team could jump into the picture, but it’s hard to see the Lakers as one of those teams. New Orleans sources said the team “won’t be doing business” with that club, with the bitterness from the Lakers’ attempt to engineer a Davis deal during the season still seething within the Pelicans’ organization.
It’s still unknown how much Irving’s decision will impact the Davis proceedings, but the Celtics seem ready to make their bid for AD whether Kyrie stays or goes.
This report comes via Steve Bulpett, who is usually very dialed into the Celtics goings-on. The best news here is if the Pelicans legitimately won't deal with the Lakers that should bring the price down. Back at the trade deadline, I worried the Pelicans would demand both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, and I really wanted to see if the Celtics could get the deal done without losing Tatum. Now I'm leaning to "Fine, you can have Tatum and draft picks (which is still a very good haul), but we're keeping Jaylen." I feel like the Celtics have enough desirable assets that they can pick one player that's off limits. I mean you didn't see the Lakers offering LeBron right?
The nightmare scenario is the Celtics trade Tatum, Brown and picks for Davis, Kyrie doesn't re-sign, Davis walks in 2020, and the Celtics are left with no-one. All their Nets picks would be gone (Brown, Tatum, Sexton) and their other draft picks as well. We'd be rebuilding in 2020 from scratch.
The dream scenario is we hold onto one of Jaylen or Jayson and that player forms a Big 3 with Davis and Kyrie and we win multiple titles.
It’s fair to assume the club knows that if it can get Davis that it must surround him with the right players. Sources around the Pelicans and league have said all year that he needs to be tougher (the constant trips back to the trainer’s room during games were a concern), and it was pointed out that he played some of his best basketball when he had Rajon Rondo in his face to call him out as needed.
Regarding the Celtics still trading for Davis even if Kyrie walks, that might be good news for Celtics fans still pining for the days of Rajon Rondo. Rondo and Davis led the Pelicans to a first round sweep vs Portland last season. If Davis can't have Kyrie, I could see the Celtics placating him by bringing back Rondo. He certainly wasn't pleased when New Orleans didn't sign the veteran point guard who helped lead them to a first round sweep of the Blazers in 2018.
Sources close to Anthony Davis have confirmed to me that he was neither aware nor consulted on the progress or deteriation of contract talks between the Pelicans and Rajon Rondo and that he wasn’t pleased. How this impacts his relationship with management remains to be seen.