Report: Celtics refused to add Jayson Tatum for possible Anthony Davis trade

Jack Baer
BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 10: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics drives against Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans at TD Garden on December 10, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Jayson Tatum is suddenly at the center of the Celtics' future. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

It’s a joyous day for the Los Angeles Lakers after the team finally acquired Anthony Davis on Saturday. That means it’s a rough time for the Boston Celtics.

The Celtics have officially missed out on Davis, who could have been one of the team’s best ways to chart a new path forward after a supremely disappointing season. The team had been reported days ago to be in talks with the New Orleans Pelicans.

In the end, the team’s unwillingness to add Jayson Tatum to any trade offer cost them a shot at the Pelicans superstar, according to The New York Times’ Marc Stein.

Even if the team needed Davis, it’s unsurprising the Celtics refused to give up Tatum given the headwinds they faced.

Anthony Davis’ agent made it tough for Celtics

Davis’ agent Rich Paul did his best to incinerate Davis’ trade value in Boston by declaring Davis would be there for only a year if the Celtics traded for him. That tactic was apparently effective, as it was reported Thursday that the team was hesitant to make a competitive offer for Davis.

That’s understandable for the Celtics, as trading away Tatum plus, say, Jaylen Brown and some picks for just one year of any player would have left the team in a dark position next summer.

Where does missing on Anthony Davis leave the Celtics?

Without Davis coming to town, Tatum is suddenly the most likely player to be Boston’s No. 1 option on offense in the 2019-20 season.

Kyrie Irving is widely reported to be close to heading to the Brooklyn Nets this offseason after opting out of his contract. Al Horford’s future with the team could also be up in the air, as the deadline to make a decision for his $30.1 million player option is coming up Tuesday.

Even if Horford stays, the Celtics will still likely be without Irving next season. They could sign Horford to a long-term contract and forge ahead with the same core minus Irving, but it’s hard to be confident in a team that struggled all of last season before getting rocked by the Milwaukee Bucks in the playoffs.

Letting Horford walk would free up some salary-cap space, but that would mean even more production to replace and not that much cap space to do it.

Right now, the team’s best path ahead looks like it’s going to require Tatum to develop into a true superstar, making him more valuable than just one year of Davis.

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