Mannix: Celtics' appetite for Anthony Davis won't diminish if Kyrie Irving walks


Run it back? Pivot to a youth movement? Acquire another superstar? 

No matter what decision the Celtics make regarding the future of the franchise, it all seems to hinge on whether Kyrie Irving re-signs or takes his talents elsewhere in free agency. 

The Celtics are thought to be at the forefront of the Anthony Davis sweepstakes, the price they'd have to pay to acquire the superstar forward, who would have the ability to hit unrestricted free agency next summer, could be too much a risk for them if they do not have Irving in the fold. 

But perhaps not, according to the latest episode of "The Crossover" with Chris Mannix.

As he explains with his guest Rohan Nadkarni of Sports illustrated, if Irving were to walk in free agency, it wouldn't diminish the Celtics' appetite for Davis. 

"From what I understand, they're not going to take their foot off the gas when it comes to pursuing Anthony Davis," Mannix said.

He wasn't clear on whether the Celtics would be willing to part with Jayson Tatum, who many believe would have to be involved in a deal for the Celtics to present the best offer, but Mannix believes Boston will remain aggressive despite Irving's decision at the end of the month.

This comes on the same day as a report from Adrian Wojnarowski, saying Irving has strong mutual interest with the Nets. If what Woj is saying come to fruition, the Celtics would either have to take a massive risk on Davis or decide to build around their talented core of youngsters. As we've learned with Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors, a risk like that may be worth it. 

"If you want a superstar like him, go get him and prove to him that your culture is worth keeping a player like that around," Nadkarni said. 

The Celtics had a chance last summer to trade for Leonard. Just like this year, they had the best potential package but didn't end up making a deal with the Spurs. 

"I do know that there is some regret with some people in the Celtics organization about not pulling the trigger on a Kawhi Leonard deal," Mannix said. "They could have made a deal for him involving Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, or at least with Brown as the centerpiece." 

Mannix went further to explain that the Celtics didn't want to tie themselves to two players who could leave this summer, being Leonard and Irving. Kyrie later announced his commitment to the Celtics before the regular season began. 

While it makes logical sense why the Celtics wouldn't want to risk losing both Leonard and Irving this summer, the regret of not securing one of the best players in the world could affect their decision to pursue Davis should Irving leave. If the Celtics are going to go after Davis in a trade no matter what Irving does, could that change the point guard's mind if he's set on leaving?

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Contact Us