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For years, the Celtics looked like the biggest hoarders in sports as they continued to stockpile pick after pick while waiting to pull the trigger as stars continued to change teams. After Paul George was moved for what seemed like nothing at the time, people expected Danny Ainge’s house to look like one of those homes you see cluttered with garbage he’s held onto over the years, except his wall will be covered with scouting reports on players in every draft from 2014 until 2024. You don’t realize it’s a sickness is until you see that Ainge has had a picture of Luka Doncic hanging on his wall for nearly four years.
Now, Ainge has convinced us he isn’t fit for a straitjacket by nailing the Celtics draft selections in back to back years while finally parting ways with one of his coveted picks in order to land Kyrie Irving this summer. Things are finally beautiful in Beantown as the team of the future is finally placed in front of the fans who are hungry for another banner to be raised into the storied rafters of TD Garden. Yet for some reason, greed has reared its ugly head—during the holiday season, of all times—as Anthony Davis’ shadow continues to loom in the distance.
Rumors continue to surface that Boston is still extremely interested in the big man, known as The Brow, should the door ever open. The Pelicans reassure the Celtics that it’s padlocked with the type of steel that would make Captain America’s shield look like a paper plate, but the superstar in question still doesn’t believe that’s completely true.
For argument’s sake, let’s claim that Davis isn’t just skeptical and questioning his future for no reason, and the Pelicans do actually open the door for a deal. Should that be an opening the Celtics approach, adding yet another superstar into the fold to join Irving and Gordon Hayward? Or, should they continue to trek forward down their current path in their quest for title 18?
It’s easy to make the argument in favor of Davis. He’s a former point guard who’s in a 6’11'' freak athlete’s body. There isn’t really any part of his game that you can complain about. He doesn’t stretch the floor as much as you’d like considering he makes just 34.9 percent of his threes, but he makes up for it with his efficient 59.5 percent inside the arc. He’s someone who fits the Celtics’ need considering he’s averaged at least two blocks per game since 2013 and would finally be the athletic rebounder this team has been looking for.
He would certainly pair well with both Irving and Hayward, despite the fact that he would disprove the point guard’s “flat earth” theory when he blocks shots that end up orbiting the planet. Yet somehow, the question of whether it’s worth it continues to surface.
Despite the fact that Davis is a game changer, he hasn’t exactly changed the game. He’s made the playoffs just once in his career, exited after four, quick games, and hasn’t done anything to prove he can be the man on a title contender. You can certainly make the case and point that he hasn’t had much help outside of half a season of DeMarcus Cousins while Jrue Holiday has been the second-best player he’s played with in his career. You could also make the case that the same could’ve been said about Kyrie Irving, and the two being paired together along with Hayward would mean he wouldn’t have that burden. A simple mathematician and one who always loads up his teams by turning off trade vetoes in NBA 2K would say the more stars the better, but that person would be neglecting the possible stars that are already on this year’s team.
Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum both cannot be considered the same players as Davis. Neither of them has proven they are the bonafide star that Davis is, but you have to like what you’re seeing from these two at this point.
Davis certainly isn’t old by any means, but Brown is just 21 while Tatum is 19. You have to be excited about that kind of potential while also acknowledging the stars that are already on the roster. These are two key contributors on a team that is currently in first place in the Eastern Conference. It is extremely early in the season, they haven’t maintained the same defensive or rebounding numbers they did during their win streak, but let’s not pretend this is a fluke that can can’t come about again. As mentioned above, Tatum and Brown are young while Hayward has played five minutes the entire season. Failure this year doesn’t mean championships aren’t coming.
The Celtics blew up their team last season, returning just four players from the year before. It has turned out to be the right move through the early stages of the season, but just because the lever attached to all that dynamite felt so good on Ainge’s fingertips the first time doesn’t mean he should take the same course for the second season in a row.
AD is extremely talented and under contract until 2021, but the man isn’t cheap. Boston would have to part with some of their youth in some combination of Brown, Tatum, and Marcus Smart as well as Al Horford. Boston would then likely have to throw in the lottery pick they received in the Markelle Fultz trade as well as the protected picks from the Clippers and the Grizzles in 2019. Considering the current success and the bright future of this team, is the eject button extremely necessary at this point?
As of right now, Davis has made it clear he wants to stay in New Orleans. We have all quickly cast his comments to the side as we think about the future of both of these franchises, but maybe he’s the one that has the right idea. Davis is experiencing the most success he's had in his NBA career as the Pelicans are just a half a game out of fifth place in the Western Conference, while the Celtics’ future couldn’t look brighter.
Instead of spending our precious time on trade machines and worrying about Boston adding yet another young superstar to their ranks, those in Boston should listen to Davis. It comes to a point where the Celtics have to look at what they have and what they can have before they look for more. There’s no need to fix what’s not broken. At least not yet.