The Boston Celtics would never trade Kyrie Irving before the NBA trade deadline, right?
The Celtics suddenly find themselves among the primary figures of the NBA universe after it was revealed New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis recently requested a trade.
Boston has had reported interest in the dynamic big man seemingly his entire career, and the continued stockpiling of assets seemed to be done with making a run at Davis in the back of its mind.
But with Davis finally on the block, the Celtics are in a precarious position where they’d likely have to wait until the offseason to make a trade because of the Rose Rule — an NBA rule that won’t allow the Celtics to have Irving and Davis on the same team under their current contracts.
As long as the Pelicans don’t trade Davis before next week’s trade deadline, the Celtics would be OK to make a deal in the summer when Irving technically can opt out and then sign an extension. There is, however, one way around the Rose Rule, and that is to trade Irving now.
Is that something the Celtics actually would do, though? Despite Irving’s announcement in October that he intends to re-sign with the Celtics in the summer, there have been rumblings in multiple reports that Irving re-signing still isn’t a sure thing.
That, paired with the Los Angeles Lakers looming for Davis, actually could put an Irving trade in play before the deadline, ESPN.com reported Thursday.
“If the Celtics were to get skittish enough to trade Irving before the trade deadline, it would free them to make a Davis trade now,” ESPN’s Brian Windhorst wrote.
“Boston is investigating the asking price of a few intriguing young players around the league, perhaps with an eye on acquiring more of New Orleans’ preferred trade chips, sources tell ESPN. That could simply be due diligence or the groundwork for something big in the near future.”
Huh. That’s interesting.
From an outsider’s perspective, it seems highly unlikely the Celtics trade Irving before the Feb. 7 deadline. Perhaps it becomes more likely if the Lakers close in on a deal before the deadline (although Windhorst reports the Pelicans don’t intend to do so as of now). If the Lakers were getting close, maybe the Celtics would just blow it up as it stands now in order to secure Davis.
But that has its own complications, too. Davis can opt out of his deal after next season and reportedly is very keen on joining the Lakers. Also, Irving and Davis are close, and it seems counterproductive for the Celtics to trade Irving and then try to convince Davis to stay in Boston for the long-term. The possibility Irving would leave in free agency reportedly is a big reason why the Celtics aren’t higher on Davis’ list of priorities.
It still seems like the Celtics’ best option is to hope the Pelicans hold off on trading Davis until the offseason, when Boston can enter the discussions, and then get Irving to re-sign. Entering the 2019-20 season with Irving and Davis — (and Jayson Tatum?) — as the core of the club easily is the best-case scenario for Boston.
But it doesn’t always work that way, which might mean even the craziest of scenarios are on the table for at least the next week.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images