NBA Trade Rumors: Exploring why Kyrie Irving could be the key to landing Anthony Davis
The Anthony Davis sweepstakes have begun, and it was really just a matter of time before a formal trade request was submitted by the 25-year-old superstar. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the news Monday morning.
All-NBA forward Anthony Davis has told the New Orleans Pelicans that he won’t sign a contract extension and wants a trade.
The New Orleans Pelicans have failed to pair him with another all-star caliber player throughout his seven-year tenure with the team, which has essentially made this divorce imminent. Now that a trade has been requested, every team in the league will conjure up their own offer, but who truly possesses the leverage right now?
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Currently, the answer is probably the Los Angeles Lakers, partly due to their bevy of young assets, but also because of Davis’ connection to LeBron James through their shared agency Klutch Sports. Additionally, the Boston Celtics, who arguably possess the most prized assets in the league, cannot get involved until the offseason because of the “Rose Rule.”
This rule prohibits players under the same type of extension following their rookie contract, which features a 5 percent increase in maximum salary, from being on the same team. Thus, Danny Ainge is forced to sit out these negotiations until the offseason.
All this being said, I’d argue that no team in particular holds the most leverage in these sweepstakes right now. Rather, it is a player whose offseason decisions will forever alter NBA history and the results of the Anthony Davis saga: Kyrie Irving.
Conventional wisdom would favor New Orleans waiting until the offseason to negotiate with the rest of the NBA. This would allow the Celtics to come to the table with a mind-blowing offer, likely featuring Jayson Tatum and an army of draft picks. Various teams, such as the Lakers and New York Knicks, would be forced to compete against an unprecedented offer from Boston. However, conventional wisdom will not ensure a successful return for the Pelicans. Kyrie Irving choosing to remain with the Celtics will.
Up until yesterday morning, Kyrie was expected to negotiate a new deal with the Celtics this offseason, and why wouldn’t he? They are loaded with young assets, coached by one of the NBA’s brightest minds in Brad Stevens, and are an incredibly storied franchise. Conventional wisdom would encourage Kyrie to stay in Boston, but let’s not forget we are discussing an individual who likely believes the earth is flat and unexpectedly called LeBron to apologize for the past, who was believed to be the primary reason he left the Cavaliers.
Nobody ever knows what he is going to do or how he is going to act. If they claim to know, they are lying because Kyrie is a walking enigma with a filthy crossover.
Before Cleveland traded Kyrie, the young point guard had reportedly requested to be sent to various teams, including the Knicks. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst claims this is one of Davis’ preferred destinations as well. While it is acknowledged around the league that Davis prefers the Lakers above all else, there has also been talk about Kyrie wanting to rejoin forces with LeBron, according to Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher.
“A source close to the Celtics confirmed that Kyrie Irving is genuinely interested in reuniting with his former Cavaliers teammate. ‘That is for real,’ the source said.”
Assuming this report is accurate, there are three teams who each have a realistic shot at Davis in the summer. However, each franchise will have to pray for their own best case scenarios, which all center around the crucial decision of Kyrie Irving.