Rich Paul Told Celtics Anthony Davis Would Only Play in BOS Until 2020 If Traded
New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Saturday, March 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)

Tyler Kaufman/Associated Press

The Boston Celtics may have the assets needed to acquire Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans, but doing so would be a risky endeavor.

In an interview with S.L. Price of Sports Illustrated, Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, said that Davis will not sign an extension and will instead test free agency next offseason if the Celtics trade for him:

“They can trade for him, but it’ll be for one year. I mean: If the Celtics traded for Anthony Davis, we would go there and we would abide by our contractual [obligations] and we would go into free agency in 2020. I’ve stated that to them. But in the event that he decides to walk away and you give away assets? Don’t blame Rich Paul.”

Davis is the hottest commodity on the NBA trade market this offseason after informing the Pelicans during the 2018-19 campaign that he does not intend to sign an extension with them.

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The Celtics have long been linked to Davis, and there is pressure on Boston to make a significant splash this offseason after going out with a whimper in the second round of the playoffs.

With young, talented players such as Jayson Tatum, Terry Rozier (restricted free agent) and Jaylen Brown in the fold, the C’s can arguably offer New Orleans a better package of assets than any other team.

Based on Paul’s comments, however, the Celtics risk ruining their future if they are unable to keep Davis beyond the 2019-20 season.

While Paul specifically mentioned the Celtics, he expanded on his thoughts and suggested that Davis won’t sign an extension with any team before next offseason regardless of where he lands:

“Where he’s going to land? I have no idea. And it don’t matter. We’re going into free agency. Why does it matter to me where he goes? Earth: We’re going into free agency. He has a year, he has to play. But after that, I can’t say it no bigger: WE ARE GOING INTO FREE AGENCY. 2020: ANTHONY DAVIS WILL BE IN FREE AGENCY.”

One exception to that rule could be the Los Angeles Lakers, since Paul’s main client is Lakers star LeBron James. Like the Celtics, the Lakers have plenty to offer in a potential Davis swap, including Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and the No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft.

As badly as Boston may need a player like Davis, L.A. is even more desperate after going 37-45 last season and missing the playoffs for the sixth consecutive year. If the Lakers can’t land another star this offseason, they are in danger of wasting another peak LeBron year.

Meanwhile, the Celtics still have a chance to contend without Davis. They also have a dilemma to deal with in free agency since Kyrie Irving could sign elsewhere. If he does, it would allow Boston to retain Rozier and attempt to move forward with a young core flanked by veterans like Gordon Hayward and Al Horford.

Keeping part of that core intact and adding a perennial All-Star and MVP candidate like Davis could be what Boston needs to get over the hump in the short term, but the long-term ramifications may be too disastrous too ignore.

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