As the 2019 free agency period looms and now sits just weeks away, the fate of disgruntled New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis has yet to be decided after requesting a trade halfway through last season.
There have been plenty of teams linked to Davis’ services, most notably the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and Boston Celtics. While all three have some young, valuable assets they can offer the Pelicans, there’s one trade chip New Orleans reportedly values more than the rest: Celtics’ forward Jayson Tatum. According to NBC NOLA’s Fletcher Mackel, Tatum is the Pelicans’ top target in any trade that involves Anthony Davis.
NBA source (who I trust a lot) told me tonight he thinks Boston is landing spot for Anthony Davis.
Says Tatum is player NOLA covets most.
Tatum, Smart (who @PelicansNBA also really like), filler (Williams, Ojeyele or Yabusele) & at least pick #14 this year.
I. Love. It! pic.twitter.com/7Rd1taJYJJ
— Fletcher Mackel (@FletcherWDSU) June 7, 2019
While many would question why the Celtics would fork over someone as valuable as Jayson Tatum in any deal, especially with Kyrie Irving’s departure looking more and more likely, Anthony Davis is not your typical player. According to Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix, Kyrie leaving or staying will have no impact on how hard the Celtics pursue Davis this summer.
“There’s a stronger sense than ever within the organization that Kyrie Irving is going to leave… From what I’ve been able to learn, if Kyrie Irving walks, it is not going to diminish their appetite to go get Anthony Davis.”
Davis is also still only 26 years old, so perhaps he would be able to mesh with Boston’s young core, with or without Kyrie Irving. Tatum himself remains an extremely valuable asset, especially considering the potential he showed as a primary option in year one and the fact that he’s still on an affordable rookie contract.
But from the Pelicans perspective, while Tatum may be their most coveted asset in return for Davis, other teams may be able to offer far more substantial packages. Teams such as the Lakers who have reportedly already offered the house for Davis will remain very much in play thanks to their multiple assets and high draft picks including fourth overall this year.
From an individual piece standpoint, sure, Tatum is likely the most valuable player they could receive in return for Anthony Davis. But there are still multiple other enticing packages out there for New Orleans to consider, and Boston has to carefully decide what their next move will be if Irving really does opt to leave Beantown this summer.