It’s officially trade season in the NBA, and not surprisingly, the Boston Celtics may find themselves squarely in the mix. Although there’s a lot to be sorted out with this team and many others, one name who’s remained at the center of trade conversations has been New Orleans Pelicans star, Anthony Davis.
But before diving too far into the Davis conversation, the topic of Kyrie Irving’s future should be discussed. Or, maybe the two could even be linked potentially. Although the Celtics star made it known before the season that he planned to re-sign with the team, things have been questioned a bit as of late. This begins with the All-Star’s comments in which he called out his young teammates following a recent loss to the Toronto Raptors, per Keith Smith of Yahoo! Sports.
“The young guys don’t know what it takes to be a championship level team. What it takes every day. And if they think it is hard now, what do they think it will be like when we’re trying to get to the Finals?” Irving stated, per Smith.
Irving did clear the air after that and things seem to be fine. And to be clear, I’d be surprised if the Celtics traded Irving, but he has a player option for the 2019-20 season (as Spotrac shows). So if the team isn’t going to give him a max deal for whatever reason, then trading him would make sense.
So, why not look at a few possible Irving trades, including one headlined by the aforementioned Pelicans star. I’ll also rate how realistic each trade happening is on a scale of 1-10.
*Note: All trades created courtesy of ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine.
New Orleans Pelicans Trade: Anthony Davis as Centerpiece
I’m confident most Celtics fans don’t want to trade center Robert Wiliams. I’m also confident they’d do so in a heartbeat if it meant getting Davis in return. There are a few things that stand out about this deal, but the first is that the reason Williams was included is that he’s actually a valuable piece. Boston also can’t do a straight Irving-for-Davis deal without a bit of tweaking (there are other ways as well). I’m also going to assume Boston has to tack on a draft pick in this trade.
I’d be interested to see if New Orleans would take this deal, but the Celtics can’t swing a deal for Davis unless they include Irving due to the “Rose Rule,” which Dakota Randall of NESN explained.
Introduced in the 2011 NBA-NBA Players’ Association collective bargaining agreement, the rule allows for players finishing their rookie contracts to sign for a higher percentage (30 percent, instead of 25 percent) of their team’s total salary cap if they hit any of three specific thresholds: MVP, two-time All-NBA Team selection or voted-on All-Star starter. The rule was named after 2010-11 NBA MVP Derrick Rose because he was the only player eligible to sign the extension when the criteria were introduced.
The Pelicans have made it known that they don’t want to deal Davis, understandably. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski stated that the team wants to convince Anthony to stay by improving the roster, but if that proves to not be an option, then they could do far worse than landing Irving. Unfortunately, there’s an obvious risk for New Orleans in the fact that the guard could test free agency after the year and possibly leave town.
Potential for trade to happen: 1
Consensus: It just seems to be too much of a risk for New Orleans unless Irving were to clearly make it known he’d re-sign. I can’t envision him openly stating that, so this is highly unlikely to happen.
New York Knicks: Kristaps Porzingis
How about a bit of Kristaps Porzingis-to-Boston fun? There hasn’t been anything brought to light yet that clearly states the New York Knicks are going to push to re-sign Porzingis, which may have to do with a huge free agency class. The rumblings of Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant landing in New York haven’t cooled off all that much, so why not have Irving there waiting?
It’s a total unknown as to how Irving and Durant would play together, and the remainder of this year would be tough for the current Celtics guard, but previous talks of his interests have pointed him to New York. I think there’s a strong possibility he’d re-sign with them if traded there as well, and Durant signing in free agency would only add to the intrigue around this deal.
As far as the Porzingis chatter goes, he’s nearing a potential return from a torn ACL which prematurely ended his 2017-18 season. If the Knicks are even slightly considering letting him leave town this offseason, then a trade makes sense. Beyond that, the Celtics would have both Terry Rozier and Emmanuel Mudiay as restricted free agents in 2019. In turn, the team could potentially look into a way they’d be able to re-sign Porzingis and match an offer sheet for one of the two point guards.
Potential for trade to happen: 3
Consensus: It’s an extreme longshot that the Celtics trade Irving, but it may not be totally off the table. If either of these trades were to happen, the Knicks deal makes more sense, as New York would feel far more confident in their chances to re-sign Irving than the Pelicans.