The Celtics may very well be one of the preferred trade destinations for New Orleans Pelicans center Anthony Davis, but president of basketball operations Danny Ainge can't simply strike a deal for the big man before the trade deadline - unless he wants to include point guard Kyrie Irving in the package.
While not the most scoring-friendly backcourt (at least in comparison to other versions Stevens has rolled out this season), the Irving-Smart combination proved to make for an efficient night for the Celtics, with tremendous on-floor metrics. Up next, they'll battle the Cavaliers on Friday night. The Celtics are now handcuffed by the "Rose Rule" that means that they have to include Kyrie Irving in any deal for Davis, however, this will no longer be a factor if Irving signs a new deal in the summer. "We've got to find a way to take it on the road now". The former ACC player of the year is waiting patiently in the Kings depth chart behind bigs Willie Cauley-Stein and Nemanja Bjelica, but it will be hard to keep them there if he can keep performing like he did in his 20 point and 17 rebound game against the defending champion Warriors.
After losing 113-104 to the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday, Irving didn't hold back.
The Pelicans fell to 10-11 on the season.
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"We really had that mindset going that we wanted to start off the game and have a defensive presence", said Irving. Having Marcus in there gave me that outlet to be able get off the ball. The Celtics have an abundance of talent, but it is about chemistry and players working as a unit to be successful.
"It feels like deja vu all over again", Smart told the team's official website. It is far from where Boston imagined where they would be prior to the campaign with them being favourites for the Eastern Conference. "That's the team we know", Boston guard Marcus Smart said. The Celtics acquired Irving via trade in August 2017, so they can not deal for Davis - or any other player that has signed such an extension - until Irving leaves or agrees to a new deal.
In an interview with Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer, Stevens spoke on how there is no individual player holding the team back, but it is that the entire team is no clicking. I don't even know what to say at this point.