Anthony Davis wants to be traded and the Celtics are going to offer up the farm for him (or close to it) when they get the chance to acquire him. They are going to have to wait to do that until this summer though, due to the Rose Rule. Trading Kyrie Irving in order to get Davis is not a great idea when Ainge is trying to build a contender and Irving has committed (at least verbally) to staying long-term.
So Ainge and company will now have to watch and wait, with the hope that their well-publicized assets will be enough to cause the Pelicans to wait until this summer to deal their All-Star. You can bet that Ainge will float some hypothetical offers in the meantime so Pelicans general manager Dell Demps and ownership know what could be waiting for them in July. Whether they offer enough to make them wait is another question.
In the meantime, the Celtics will be watching nervously, counting down the days until the trade deadline passes in hopes that other teams doesn’t swoop in and land Davis before they even get a chance to make an official offer. The Lakers are obviously the most talked about name on this front, but it’s safe to say 29 teams around the league will at least be making a call on Davis. Most of those won’t have any realistic shot at keeping Davis over the long term, given his desire to compete for a contender. However, there are a number of squads with plenty of draft assets, young pieces or star power that will have the ear of the Pelicans. Which teams are the ones the Celtics should be worrying about in the next week and a half and have the potential to make an offer the Pelicans couldn't say no to? Let’s go through all the possibilities in the Anthony Davis trade contender power rankings
Not serious contenders for Davis
Knicks/Bulls/other lottery teams: There has been a lot of chatter about bad big market teams getting into the mix for Davis by offering up a top pick and young players. Thanks to new lottery odds, no team has more than a 13 percent chance at landing the No. 1 pick in Zion Williamson for the time being. One of these squads could eventually get into the bidding after the draft lottery, but no one will have that type of a trump card until May, making them non-contenders for now in the bidding.
Bucks: It’s a fun idea to team up Giannis and AD, but all of the Bucks’ other best assets (Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, Malcolm Brogdon) are on expiring deals. With no young promising building blocks to deal, that’s not going to get the job done.
Pacers: This may have been an interesting team to consider before Victor Oladipo got hurt. They have Myles Turner signed to a reasonable long-term extension ($18 million for next four years) and they could have thrown in Domantas Sabonis, Aaron Holiday and multiple first-round picks as well as expiring contracts. However, even that package wouldn’t have been enough to get it done in all likelihood with no emerging All-Star in it and their chances of contending with an upgrade are gone with Oladipo done for the season anyway.
Nets: Would Brooklyn have considered rolling the dice on trading for AD now and then signing a max free agent to pair with him this summer? Injuries may have ruined their best chance to do it already as Caris LaVert remains sidelined with a broken leg. He may be back this year but his trade stock is way down due to it. A combination of LaVert, Jarrett Allen, Joe Harris and a bunch of future first round picks would have been worth considering for the Pelicans but that’s not enough to push the needle now. They can try again in summer anyway if Davis hasn’t been dealt by then, so making a push before the deadline isn’t big for them.
Other East playoff teams (Heat/Hornets/Pistons/Wizards): No contenders here given the price these teams would have to pay in the AD deal. Not enough young talent on these squads to get the deal done.
Worth considering, but probably not happening in next 10 days