Agent Paul to Celtics: Davis won't sign

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(Reuters) — Agent Rich Paul warned the Boston Celtics: Trade for All-NBA center Anthony Davis, and he’ll be one-year rental.

The Celtics are among the teams rumored to be pursuing a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans for the disgruntled Davis, who becomes a free agent after the 2019-20 season. Boston has the assets to put together a more attractive trade package than many teams in the running.

“They can trade for him, but it’ll be for one year,” Paul told Sports Illustrated. “I mean: If the Celtics traded for Anthony Davis, we would go there and we would abide by our contractual 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.”

Reports Tuesday said that Paul, whose most prominent client is LeBron James, has further told the Pelicans that the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers are the only teams Davis is interested in joining.

“Where he’s going to land? I have no idea,” Paul said. “And it don’t matter. We’re going into free agency. Why does it matter to me where he goes? Earth: We’re going into free agency. He has a year; he has to play. But after that, I can’t say it no bigger: WE ARE GOING INTO FREE AGENCY. 2020: ANTHONY DAVIS WILL BE IN FREE AGENCY.”

The Lakers pursued Davis after Paul announced the big man wanted a trade last winter. With Magic Johnson (Lakers) and Dell Demps (Pelicans) both out of jobs after leading those trade talks, and a fresh list of demands provided teams on Monday by first-year Pelicans team president David Griffin, there is optimism a Davis deal will happen.

New Orleans has the benefit of starting over with presumptive No. 1 pick Zion Williamson as a centerpiece. A deal with the Knicks, who pick third in the 2019 draft, could mean a pairing of Williamson and Duke teammate RJ Barrett in the Bayou. The options involving a third team such as Brooklyn, determined to clear salary cap space to bring in two marquee free agents, could potentially bring in Nets All-Star D’Angelo Russell as part of the new core in New Orleans.

One of the lingering doubts for a Lakers-Pelicans match is whether Griffin values Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart more than Demps did when talks fizzled in February. The fourth overall pick, per reports, will not be enough of a haul for the Lakers to land Davis. And if Griffin shakes off the young starters offered up from Los Angeles, a third or fourth team might be needed for a deal to work.