Anthony Davis' agent Rich Paul has tried to navigate his way towards a preferred destination for his All-Star client for months now. He went public with a trade demand in January when a top Davis suitor (Boston) was not legally able to trade for the superstar due to CBA rules (due to Kyrie Irving being on the roster with a similar contract). While the Celtics have never been considered a preferred destination for Davis (Lakers, Knicks, Clippers, Bucks were initially on the list), Davis had done little publicly to dissuade the Celtics from making a deal for him. However, that changed on Wednesday morning after a feature on Paul was released in SI by SL Price.
In it, a warning shot is fired at Boston amid rumors that the team still intended to make a run at Davis even without Irving on the roster.
“They can trade for him, but it’ll be for one year,” Paul told SI’s S.L. Price when asked about the Celtics. “I mean: If the Celtics traded for Anthony Davis, we would go there and we would abide by our contractual [obligations] and we would go into free agency in 2020. I’ve stated that to them. But in the event that he decides to walk away and you give away assets? Don’t blame Rich Paul.”
Davis has one year left on his deal for $27 million next year before he has an option to opt out and hit the unrestricted free agency market. Multiple reports have indicated that the Pelicans are looking to get a deal done before the draft, something that will certainly need to happen in principle if a deal occurs with the Celtics due to the expected draft picks changing hands. Paul lists the Knicks and Lakers as two preferred destinations in his piece.
This flight risk has always been the biggest worry for the Celtics in any pursuit of Davis and it's a rather nuclear option for Paul to talk publicly like this amid an active negotiation. Just like his February trade demand, it's a calculated move to reduce the bidding