It's Boston vs. Los Angeles again... this time in the Anthony Davis tug-of-war originally appeared on nbcsportsboston.com
As the Anthony Davis saga envelops the NBA - putting Celtics fans on edge even as the region tries to bask in the afterglow of another Super Bowl victory - Monday brought another series of reports in which the Celtics seemed to be pushing back as Davis's representatives do their best to angle for a trade to the Lakers in advance of Thursday's deadline.
All of which leads to the big question of the week: Will the Pelicans remain patient in the quest for the best deal, or will the Celtics get frozen out with a move before the deadline?
After reports that the Pelicans had received an updated list of four teams that Davis might be willing to consider a long-term future with - and Boston was noticeably absent from that group - ESPN reported Monday night that Danny Ainge had urged the Pelicans to wait for the offseason to deal Davis with a promise to be aggressive in trade efforts at a point when Boston can acquire the All-Star big man without the Rose Rule restrictions that have taken them out of the bidding this week.
With rumors and reports emerging from all corners, it's going to be a slow crawl to Thursday's 3 p.m. deadline.
ESPN reported Monday that the Pelicans were informed that, in addition to the Lakers, there were three other teams that Davis would consider a long-term stay with in a deal: the Clippers, Bucks, and Knicks. Should Boston fans be concerned that - on the heels of Anthony Davis Sr.'s comments about how he doesn't want his son to play in Boston due to the team's lack of loyalty to Isaiah Thomas - the Celtics were omitted from the most recent lists? Probably not.
It should come as no surprise that a player who's eager to find a new home isn't pushing to be relocated to the one team that can't trade for him until July. The guess here is that, should Davis remain on the Pelicans' roster through Thursday's deadline, the narrative about his desire to play in Boston will slowly shift in the aftermath.
It's also not a coincidence that the additions to Davis' preferred-destinations list include three teams that don't have the immediate means to throw themselves into the bidding process. Like many of the reports that have come out the past two weeks, it feels like an attempt to make the Lakers offer seem like something the Pelicans have to leap at.
But there's reason to wonder if the Pelicans can do better, particularly by waiting for the Celtics to get involved. Will a wildcard team emerge with a late offer? Can the Pelicans resist the Lakers' persistent pursuit?
If nothing else, the Celtics appear to be doing everything they can to give New Orleans the peace of mind they might need to exercise patience . ESPN reported Monday that the Celtics plan to pursue Davis this summer regardless of Kyrie Irving's future but that Boston remains confident Irving will follow through with his preseason declaration to re-sign here.
This seems to be Boston pushing back on the notion that Irving has had a change of heart while eliminating concern by suggesting any pursuit of Davis is not necessarily tied to Irving's future.
A Boston-Los Angeles tug of war is emerging for Davis' services, which is appropriate in the aftermath of the World Series and Super Bowl. The reports are unlikely to slow down before Thursday. Adding to the drama: The Lakers come to Boston later this week and the two rivals clash just hours after the deadline passes.
Chalk up a win for the NBA schedule-makers.
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