The Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics are two of the winningest franchises in the NBA. Yet this season, they have found little success, which suggests that some changes should be made. According to an NBA executive, this tweak should center around Anthony Davis and Jaylen Brown.
Davis for Brown
According to the executive, former Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge (now with the Utah Jazz) had been eyeing Davis since 2019. Things didn't pan out well as the Lakers had more leverage during that time. Now, things have changed. An attractive package could make the Lakers let go of their prized big man.
It was no secret Danny wanted him (in 2019). He would have given up Tatum in a heartbeat for AD. They wanted to offer Brown, but it would have come down to Tatum. And he would have done it in the end, I think. Now the Lakers would want Tatum back, but there is no way the Celtics do that.
“But put AD in a deal with Horton-Tucker for Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Aaron Nesmith? The Lakers would have to consider that. I’d take it,” said the executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, per heavy.
It's an interesting proposal, though very few rumors link Davis to the Celtics. If there is another team he is eyeing, it is likely the Chicago Bulls — his hometown squad. But given how the Bulls are performing right now, there is no way they would break their team up to absorb the eight-time All-Star.
Evaluating Davis' trade value
As for the Celtics, they are a team that could use a trade. There have been numerous suggestions from analysts that they might need to break the Tatum-Brown star-duo up for good. While they get along pretty well, the Celtics are not considered an elite team. This reality alone should send signals to the front office — a split is inevitable.
As for the Lakers, it might have crossed Rob Pelinka's mind to get rid of Davis. Yes, the man is the perfect All-Star complement to LeBron James. Their 2020 NBA Championship is indelible proof of this. Yet AD's klutzy body has hurt the Lakers in the last two seasons. Last year, he played a mere 36 games out of 72 possible games. This season, he has only played 37 out of the Lakers' 60 games so far. Davis is easily one of the best big men today. But as the adage goes, a healthy athlete is infinite times better than one wrapped in bandages.
Davis' glass bones could be the main reason why the Lakers would never find a trade partner for him. Though the Celtics had been eyeing him since 2019 and need a roster tweak, they have come to realize now that AD may not be worth it. In fact, his presence (or mostly absence due to injuries) could even make their team worse.
The NBA executive's proposal makes sense. It's a trade that would benefit both teams and could jump-start their journey back to title contention. But the main weakness of the transaction is Anthony Davis himself. Pelinka was right to give up a ton of young guns and assets for him back in the summer of 2019 given they won the title later on. But looking at things right now, perhaps Pelinka should not have put everything on the table for an injury-prone player. From the looks of it, they'll be stuck with AD until he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2025.