It would appear that even the Celtics have given up on the idea of forming a Kyrie Irving-Anthony Davis one-two punch in Boston.
At least if the latest report from Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, which indicated that the Celtics are exploring a future that “runs counter” to Davis and Irving being with the Celtics, holds any weight.
All I can tell is what's happening behind the scenes... Boston is not operating like a team focused on Irving and Davis... In fact, the things they are exploring run counter to a Davis and Irving future. https://t.co/EXagayBiSO— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) May 31, 2019
Given the resources and energy seemingly spent on making this connection come together in pursuit of Green 18, the idea that neither would be in the team’s plans is an interesting development. To say the least.
Irving, of course, is expected to opt out of his contract with the Celtics and test the free agent waters this summer. And though Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has said that the sides are ‘engaged’ and will wed by way of a max contract this summer, it’s believed that Irving will draw interest from the Knicks, Lakers, and Nets.
The Knicks and Nets both represent homecomings for the New Jersey native, while a move to the Lakers would see Irving reunite with LeBron James in an attempt to recreate the magic that won the Cavaliers a title in 2016.
And trying to guess Irving’s decision seems like the work of the clinically insane, as the 6-foot-3 guard has seemed both completely frustrated and happy and willing to make it work during his two-year tenure as the Green’s on-court leader.
Davis, meanwhile, is perhaps the league’s top trade target, and remains exactly that after a meeting with new Pelicans front office head David Griffin earlier this week. The six-time All-Star has reportedly viewed the Celtics as a one-and-done option, as multiple reports have indicated that either the Lakers or Knicks could be the long-term destination Davis prefers.
But let’s say they do indeed plan for a future without those players in town.
What that means — especially in the NBA — is pretty much anybody’s guess.
Two-way superstar Kawhi Leonard has led the Raptors to the NBA Finals in his first (and maybe only) season with the Raptors, and he may very well enter free agency as the game’s most sought after star. The Celtics were extremely interested in acquiring Leonard from the Spurs last summer, too, as they reportedly offered the Spurs ‘a ton’ of draft picks for Leonard, and at one point had a concrete offer on the table for the 6-foot-7 forward. In other words, he’d be a target that they would probably consider worth the financial headache that would follow if he were interested in joining the Celtics.
There’s also the whole Kevin Durant saga. Durant’s pending departure from Golden State is perhaps the worst kept secret in basketball, and while many have considered him a lock to join the Knicks, it’s worth mentioning that Durant met with the Celtics as a free agent in 2016, and the Celtics’ long-term future has only improved since then.
Then there’s the Houston Rockets, who have apparently made every one of their players available via trade, letting our minds run wild with potential trade packages for Chris Paul, Clint Capela, or even James Harden.
Or maybe — and perhaps most depressingly — the Celtics could simply be planning on losing Irving to the Knicks in free agency, and thus not finding a one-year investment in Davis worth the assets the Celtics would lose in the process.