Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis

Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports

Would you trade Kyrie Irving for Anthony Davis now or try to unite them this summer?

John Tomase
November 27, 2018 - 12:19 pm

The Celtics got an up-close-and-personal look on Monday at Pelicans star Anthony Davis, who posted 27 points and 16 rebounds in Boston’s 124-107 victory. Considering some of Davis’s prior work – he torched the C’s for 45 and 16 last January – they’ll take his pedestrian 8-for-19 performance.

The bigger question is whether Davis may one day call Boston home. NBA insider Chris Sheridan has already noted that the Celtics are on Davis’s short list of potential landing spots, alongside the Lakers, Sixers, and Knicks.

There’s even been speculation about the Pelicans trying to move him this season if they fall out of contention, and at 10-11, they’re currently 11th in the loaded West, trailing the Spurs, Kings, and Mavericks, tied with the Timberwolves, and percentage points ahead of the Rockets.

Those dreaming of a Kyrie Irving-Davis pairing will have to wait until the summer. Because of the Rose Rule, the Celtics cannot acquire two players playing for 30 percent max extensions coming off their rookie contracts. Both Irving and Davis are on such deals, and the only way to sign one is to win an MVP, Defensive Player of the Year Award, or make an All-NBA team. (Others, like NBA capologist Keith Smith, can explain this a lot better than I can).

So there’s no way for the Celtics to acquire Davis this year, in the unlikely event that he’s made available . . . unless they trade Irving to get him.

There’s an argument to be made for a deal. The Celtics like to play small, but that lineup was exposed to the point where head coach Brad Stevens decided to move center Aron Baynes back into the starting lineup.

Backup Terry Rozier may not provide as much as we’d like off the bench, but as a starter, he quarterbacked the team to the conference finals last season. He’d be a ready-made Irving replacement.

There are also long-term injury concerns with Irving, who’s coming off season-ending knee surgery that was itself a result of prior season-ending knee surgery.

That said, I still no and here’s why. The best Celtics team pairs Irving, Davis, and Jayson Tatum. If Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, and picks need to go to put those three together, so be it. But I’ll put the question to you – would you trade Irving right now to acquire Davis, or would you wait until the summer in an attempt to unite them?