Celtics Have 6 Months to Get Anthony Davis to Like Them

By Henry McKenna

The Boston Celtics aren’t on Anthony Davis’ list of desired destinations. But they’ve got a chance to change that.

The NBA trade deadline came and went without a blockbuster trade involving Davis. Davis is stuck with the New Orleans Pelicans until at least the 2019-20 league year begins, when the Celtics and the rest of the NBA can trade for Davis. The Celtics, however, couldn’t bid for him this year because of the Rose Rule. But by July, Boston can put themselves on Davis’ list, so that if they trade for him, they have some hope of retaining him at the expiration of his contract in 2020, when he has a player option.

Set the ticking clock for six months. The Celtics have to figure out how to get Davis to like them. They’ve got to devise some scheme to earn his trust by early July. And trust seems to be an issue, judging from what Davis’ father said on ESPN.

Frankly, if Davis thinks he’s going to get treated like Isaiah Thomas, he’s disillusioned. Thomas has proven in his days after Boston that he was a beautiful product of Brad Stevens’ system and little more.

Davis is “The Brow.” He is a bonafide superstar and a journey to Boston isn’t going to make that solid standing in the league fall apart.

The Celtics do need to prove they can help superstars succeed. So far, Gordon Hayward has been a disaster — largely due to his injury. Kyrie Irving has been a nutcase, which seems to get exacerbated by Boston’s media market. If Davis is looking at Boston, he’s got to wonder: Do I want to play with a broken Hayward and occasionally petty or crazy Irving? Do I risk my career by jumping aboard with Stevens, who seems better without superstars?

There’s good news. Hayward’s and Irving’s problems may be intertwined. If Hayward begins to play more like an All Star — which should happen as he gets more comfortable on the court — then the Celtics will win more, and Irving won’t take as many shots at the younger players. Irving may also be crazy enough not to want to play with Davis, because of his weird desire to be the alpha and the omega. But if Irving is reopening the door to playing with LeBron, maybe he’d be open to playing with Davis, whose skillsets compliment Irving better than LeBron.

Basically, Boston needs to get their act together to begin winning games. They need to convince Davis that they’re a desirable work environment, so that if Boston can swing a trade for Davis, he will be willing to stick around to help them win a few championships. Because that’s probably what they’d be capable of doing, if Davis, Irving and Hayward were on the same team together.