All along, I’ve figured the Pelicans were using the Celtics interest in Anthony Davis to drive up the price for the Lakers. Turns out, it might be the opposite:
ESPN’s Rachel Nichols asked Brian Windhorst on Thursday’s episode of The Jump if Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin was using the Lakers’ offer as leverage to gain more assets from the Celtics, and Windhorst said he believed that to be the case:
“I think it’s a good sign that David Griffin is shopping the No. 4 pick. That at least means he’s open to a deal with the Lakers. But I think all of this is a maneuver to draw as much as he possibly can out of the Celtics. They’ve preferred to deal with the Celtics since Dell Demps was the general manager. The Lakers’ offers haven’t changed that much. They have a higher pick, but they don’t really have different players to offer. If he really wanted to make the Lakers deal, and he really wanted the draft pick, he would’ve already made the Lakers deal.”
There are also rumblings that the Lakers are withholding Kyle Kuzma from the deal. Could he tilt the negotiations in LA’s favor?
I’ll believe the Celtics are serious once I hear an alleged offer. Right now, there’s been nothing.
On a separate note, I’m still in the camp that believes there’s a significant chance Kyrie Irving returns to Boston. Steve Bulpett intimates that Kyrie has yet to make up his mind:
According to multiple league sources, Irving still has not removed the Celtics from consideration as he contemplates where to sign as a free agent, though the assumption around the NBA was he was looking to go elsewhere to join up with another marquee free agent. That concept was placed in some measure of doubt when Kevin Durant — the most prominent of the potential 2019 free agents — suffered a ruptured Achilles’ tendon in Game 5 of the NBA Finals Monday night.
There still is no definitive word on whether that situation will change Irving’s thinking, or if a successful Celtics pursuit of Davis could increase the chances Irving stays in Boston.
Former Sporting News reporter Sean Devaney believes the Kevin Garnett experience is driving Danny Ainge to pursue Anthony Davis despite the words of his agent.