Boston Celtics

Dec 10, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) reacts after a three point basket during the first half against the New Orleans Pelicans at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

By Ty Anderson,

The Celtics have drooled over Anthony Davis since he first entered the NBA.

You could argue that Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge’s multi-year asset load-up was all done with the hopes of landing Davis from the Pelicans when the day finally came. But there was one piece Ainge apparently was not willing to include a deal for the Pelican-turned-Laker: Jayson Tatum.

In intensified trade talks for the disgruntled center over the last week, talks between the Celtics and Pelicans front office head David Griffin appeared to hit a roadblock when Ainge made it known that Tatum would not be made available to them.

With Tatum off the board for the Pelicans, New Orleans instead accepted a package from the Lakers that featured three young roster players in Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart, as well as three first-round draft picks.

Ainge’s refusal to include Tatum in talks with the Pelicans is 100 percent multilayered, too.

Davis’ camp has made it clear that the six-time All-Star was no sold on Boston being his long-term destination. His agent, Rich Paul, said as much earlier this week, saying that Boston would be a “rental” option for Davis, and that the Celtics would have nobody to blame if Davis indeed decided to leave as a free agent in 2020. It’s not hard to imagine the Celtics having limited interest in that, especially after a 2018-19 season seemingly derailed by the ‘will he or won’t he’ with Kyrie Irving.

The Irving point is an interesting one, too, as there’s no guarantee that Davis would have been enough for Irving to stay with the Celtics, putting the C’s in a potential doomsday scenario that could have left them without Irving, Davis, and Tatum by 2020.

Tatum, drafted with the No. 3 overall in 2017, is coming off a sophomore season that saw him average career-bests in points (15.7), assists (2.1), and rebounds (6.0) per game.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.