The NBA world was jolted awake on Monday morning as Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com reported that agent Rich Paul (who is also a close friend of LeBron James), has informed the Pelicans that his client Anthony Davis will not sign an extension with the Pelicans and wants a trade out of New Orleans.
Davis is currently battling a volar plate avulsion fracture of his left index finger that has cost him the last four games. During that stretch, the Pelicans have dropped to 22-28, six games out of the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference. He was expected to return to action for New Orleans in the next week.
"Anthony wants to be traded to a team that allows him the chance to win consistently and compete for a championship," Paul told Wojnarowski.
The Pelicans would have had the ability to offer Davis a supermax extension starting on July 1st that could have been worth $240 million over five years. Davis is under contract through the 2020 season, earning $25.4 million this year and $27.3 million in 2019-20. He has a player option for 2020-21 that he will surely opt out of. Davis, 25, is currently averaging 29.3 points and 13.3 rebounds per game.
There are plenty of questions that are going to arise on this situation, so let's start tackling them all from a Celtics perspective.
Can the Celtics deal for Anthony Davis now?
Not while Kyrie Irving is on the roster under his current contract. An NBA collective bargaining rule (the Rose Rule) prevents Boston from having two players that are playing under Rose Rule contracts on the roster at the same time. Irving and Davis both signed four-year Rose Rule deals this past decade and are currently playing under them. Irving's will expire on June 30 (assuming he opts out of $21 million player option), so the Celtics can not trade for Davis without moving Irving until his current one expires. In the meantime, the Celtics can't do anything officially for Davis until then, unless the team wants to trade Irving now as well.
Doesn't that put the Celtics in a tough spot?
Definitely. There’s no doubt that by putting in a trade request 10 days before the trade deadline, Davis wants to speed up the process and get out of New Orleans ASAP. It’s unclear whether the move was motivated by the fact that the Celtics can’t trade for him at the moment, but it’s obviously a concerning problem for Boston’s front office, which has spent years stockpiling assets for the big man.
Do the Pelicans have any extra incentive to deal Davis now as opposed to this summer?