By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- It was only a matter of time until Anthony Davis finally asked his way out of New Orleans. But the superstar's timing is a bit problematic for the Boston Celtics.
Davis has reportedly notified the Pelicans brass that he won't be signing a supermax extension after the season and wants a trade, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The 25-year-old wants to be on a contender that will give him a chance to win some titles, and that won't be happening anytime soon in New Orleans.
The Celtics have been connected to Davis for years, but him requesting a trade right now puts them in a tough spot. Davis signed his current deal with New Orleans under the "Rose Rule," which allows players coming off their rookie-scale contracts to earn 30 percent of the salary cap, so long as they earned an MVP award, two appearances as an All-Star starters, or two All-NBA selections during their first four seasons in the NBA (a Defensive Player of the Year award has now replaced the two All-Star starter appearances).
Davis earned his "Rose Rule" extension with a pair of All-Star starts, as did Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving. NBA rules prohibit teams from trading for more than one player on an extension under the "Rose Rule," so the Celtics cannot trade for Davis unless they include Irving, or unless the Pelicans are willing to wait until the summer (when Irving is expected to opt out of the final year of his deal) to strike a deal.
The Celtics would much rather pair Davis alongside Irving, so don't expect Danny Ainge to be making that phone call Monday morning. But he will most certainly be calling New Orleans to ask them to wait another six months so they can jump into the mix. Ainge has a bevy of young talent and future draft picks to put together an extremely intriguing package for Davis (likely started with Jayson Tatum and/or Jaylen Brown and the future first-round pick from the Memphis Grizzlies), and having the Celtics in the mix would drive up the price other teams would have to pay for Davis.
The timing of Davis' request is somewhat concerning for Celtics fans, just because if the Pelicans do try to move their star ahead of the Feb. 7 trade deadline, Boston would have to sit out the sweepstakes. That would make the Los Angeles Lakers the favorite (though other teams should start to emerge in the next few days), which won't sit well with green teamers. Further fueling the Laker speculation is that Davis' agent Rich Paul is also LeBron James' agent, and James is now essentially running the show in Los Angeles. If he wants Davis by his side, or if Davis wants to end up in Los Angeles, the Lakers will do whatever it takes to get him.
Davis requesting a trade now isn't ideal for the Celtics, but they still have the most (and arguably best) assets to complete such a league-altering trade if they can convince the Pelicans to wait just a little while longer to trade their franchise player. It would be in New Orleans' best interest to wait until the Celtics can join the fun, but the biggest concern is that a team will blow them away with an offer over the next week, one the Celtics won't be able to counter at this time.
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