Disappointment won’t provoke Danny Ainge into changing his master plan.
The Boston Celtics president of basketball operation wants Kyrie Irving to re-sign with the team this offseason, The Athletic’s Frank Isola reported Tuesday, citing sources. Irving is expected to opt out of his contract this summer and become a free agent, and his future is the subject of intense scrutiny following the Celtics’ second-round elimination from the NBA playoffs.
Most pundits have bashed Irving for his underwhelming performances against the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Some even claim his Celtics tenure is over, as a host of rumors link him with the New York Knicks.
But Ainge has a potential joker to play in the race for Irving’s services: acquiring Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans in a blockbuster trade.
“Ainge, according to sources, wants to re-sign Irving and believes he will do just that if the Celtics acquire Davis,” Isola writes.
Davis and Irving are friends, and many reports suggest their respective NBA futures are intertwined.
The star big man requested a trade from the Pelicans in January after informing them he’d opt out of his contract after next season and he remains determined to leave New Orleans despite Zion Williamson’s potential arrival as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
The Celtics are one of few teams with a potential haul of assets, which undoubtedly will be required to pry Davis from the Pelicans. He reportedly hasn’t ruled out signing a long-term contract with Boston, regardless of whether Irving re-signs.
One doesn’t need Ainge’s NBA experience to know how enticing the prospect of playing alongside Davis would be to Irving or any other basketball player on the planet.