The Anthony Davis clarification tour continues. After reports surfaced before the trade deadline that the Boston Celtics were definitively not on his preferred destination list, Davis changed his tune during All-Star Saturday’s media availability. It’s a far cry from what was reported leading up to the deadline but also, not a surprise. With so much information and disinformation swirling around, did anything actually change from Boston’s point of view?
It’s important to mention that outside of Anthony Davis, his representation, and the numerous outlets they have communicated with, nobody really knows for sure what is going on. Based on what was reported, It was clear that Davis’ representation was making a strong push to get him to the Los Angeles Lakers and based on the timing of the request and the subsequent media blitz that was littered with numerous reports about not playing for the Celtics, there was a picture painted that Davis strongly wanted to go to LA, strongly didn’t want to go to Boston, and was doing everything in his power to make sure it didn’t happen.
With that in mind, his comments need to be taken with a grain of salt. Does he truly not have any preference for where he wants to play? Probably not. He confirmed that their was a list and made it clear he personally never ruled out Boston.
Does that mean Boston is THE potential destination? No.
What it does mean is that the Celtics do not have to go into negotiations this summer with the understanding that they’re dealing for a player that is strongly opposed to playing with their team in the long term. It’s possible that they already knew that. However, it being out publicly does add a degree of certainty when it comes to how much the team would be willing to give up. That’s important, because there’s a very strong argument that Boston would need to offer its best assets to get over potentially competing offers that include Zion Williamson.
If Anthony Davis was being truthful when he said, “I just want to win. Big market, small market, it doesn’t matter. My focus is on winning at this point in my career. And wherever that my be, it could be a big market or a small market, I just want to win,” then the Celtics are in good shape.
Boston has never been and probably never will be a free agent destination. They’ve always attracted talent though merit. In this case, they’d be able to offer Davis an ability to play with another superstar (assuming Irving stays), one of the best big men in the game by his side in Al Horford, and some proven combination of talent that could include: Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, Marcus Smart, Aron Baynes, Terry Rozier, and Marcus Morris. Said another way, Boston is one of the few teams in the league that can pay a premium price for Davis and still provide him with an infrastructure that can compete for a title for multiple years.
This summer is shaping up to be very interesting for the NBA, especially in Boston. They’ll be tasked with wooing Kyrie Irving who is his own separate entity and competing for the services of Anthony Davis by offering assets that could still be part of a championship run. However, Saturday was a positive sign that Anthony Davis is willing to give them a chance, and that’s all they’ve ever needed.