Anthony Davis could be on the move, and two of the teams long rumored to be in the running are deep into talks with the Pelicans, along with a surprise linchpin. 

The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers were "engaged in talks" for separate deals with New Orleans on potential blockbuster trades as of Wednesday afternoon, according to a report from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski

The Lakers' No. 4 pick was involved, according to the report, with an eye toward helping the Pelicans acquire a "high-level" player. But a dispatch from the L.A. Times indicated Kyle Kuzma could be the key to getting a deal done.

Nothing was specified beyond the No. 4 pick, though Wojnarowski added that the Boston Celtics were "undeterred" by the potential of Davis leaving in free agency. 

An L.A. Times report indicated that the Knicks and Lakers remained hesitant to gut their respective rosters, and Kuzma is the Lakers player the Pelicans "covet most." The issue? Los Angeles doesn't want to part with the 23-year-old swingman, whom they selected No. 27 overall in 2017.

Kuzma quickly emerged as as a reliable scorer for the Lakers, averaging 16.1 and 18.7 points, respectively over his first two seasons. The report indicated the inclusion of Kuzma could even allow the Lakers to complete a trade with the Pelicans without including the No. 4 pick. 

Pelicans Executive Vice President David Griffin said earlier this week the team wants to add a current all-star, a potential all-star and two first-round picks in any trade for Davis.

The Pelicans were seeking a likely three-team deal to help maximize assets, with Griffin adding on Tuesday that the impending NBA draft did not serve as a deadline, and there was no "hurry" or "shot clock" on such a move.

The other members of the Lakers' young core group, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart, are also likely options for a trade. 

Davis' camp has indicated he is only interested in signing long-term with the Lakers or New York Knicks. The superstar center can opt out of the final year of his deal and become a free agent before the 2020-'21 season. 

Wojnarowski added that the Celtics view such a trade as likely the best way to convince star point guard Kyrie Irving to re-sign after he becomes a free agent on July 1. 


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A Brow-led sales pitch to Irving could be an important factor in Celtics interest in a trade for the disgruntled, 26-year-old superstar. Irving has long been rumored to be eyeing the Knicks or Brooklyn Nets in free agency, where there was the potential to join forces with current Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant. 

But Durant suffered a ruptured Achilles during Game 5 of the NBA Finals and underwent successful surgery on Wednesday, news of which broke just minutes after the report of trade talks. The long recovery time of such an injury casts Durant's immediate future in doubt. The 30-year-old must now decide whether to opt in for the final year of his deal with the Warriors, which would pay $31.5 million for the 2019-'20 season, or face an uncertain free agent market. 

The Celtics could not officially complete a trade for Davis until July 1, due to the nature of his and Irving's contracts, but a deal could be agreed to beforehand with options possible to work around contract issues. If such a deal went through, the Celtics would have until 6 p.m. on June 30 to pitch Irving on re-signing before any other teams were allowed to the table.

Such a move would come with risk, though, as it would for any team not appearing on Davis' two-team list. 

Davis' agent Rich Paul threw several haymakers to exactly that point in an expansive Sports Illustrated article that published Wednesday morning. In it, he put the blame for the public trade demand former GM Dell Demps' mistakes, compared joining L.A. and LeBron to going on a date with Jennifer Lopez, and offered a fair warning to any team not named the Knicks or Lakers that paid the steep price for a year of Davis' services. 

“They can trade for him, but it’ll be for one year,” Paul told SI. “I mean: If the Celtics traded for Anthony Davis, we would go there and we would abide by our contractual (obligations) and we would go into free agency in 2020. I’ve stated that to them.

“But in the event that he decides to walk away and you give away assets? Don’t blame Rich Paul.”

Celtics GM Danny Ainge offered comments last week in response to a question about Irving's contract status that offers a glimpse into his mindset regarding such a move. 

“There’s always risk in making deals,” Ainge said, according to a report from the Boston Globe. “We’re not afraid of risk. We made a risk by trading for Kyrie and, no matter what happens with Kyrie, I’ll never regret that. You just move on to the next deal.”

Davis has spent the entirety of his seven-year NBA career in New Orleans since he was selected No. 1 overall in the 2012 NBA draft out of Kentucky. The Pelicans were a surprise lottery winner that year. 

The team struck gold yet again in likely bookend fashion for the 2019 draft, bucking even longer odds for the No. 1 pick and the chance to select Duke phenom Zion Williamson, who was in town to meet with Pelicans officials on Tuesday. 

Check back for updates. 


Follow Jeff Nowak on Twitter, @Jeff​_Nowak.