Boston Celtics fans who woke up Monday morning salivating at the idea of the franchise trading for Anthony Davis now that he’s reportedly requested a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans may be crestfallen to find out that there’s a humongous road block in the way.
It’s the so-called “Rose Rule” and it has to do with the presence of Kyrie Irving.
Back in 2011, the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement included a rule named after Derrick Rose. From ESPN:
The rule allows a player finishing his rookie contract to make 30 percent of a team’s salary cap — up from 25 percent — if he’s twice been voted an All-Star starter, twice been voted All-NBA or won an MVP award.
It was named after Rose because was NBA MVP in 2010-11, a rule that would reward players who exceeded their value while on their rookie deals.
Why is that a problem for a Davis and Celtics trade? Because NBA teams are only allowed to have one player who signed a “Rose Rule” extension and are still on that contract. (UPDATE: It’s been pointed out to me that a team actually can have two “Rose Rule” players, but only one can be acquired through a trade and the Celtics dealt for Irving in 2017). Both Kyrie Irving and Davis received Rose Rule extensions on their current contracts.
More from Boston.com:
The Celtics acquired Irving via trade in August 2017, so they cannot deal for Davis — or any other player that has signed such an extension — until Irving leaves or agrees to a new deal. Irving will become an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of this season and has expressed his intention to re-sign with the Celtics. The earliest he can do so is July 1, 2019.
So Boston’s options include the following:
1. Wait until July 1 to deal for The Brow. That doesn’t seem ideal when a team like the Lakers can swoop in and offer a good package to the Pelicans for Davis.
2. Trade Irving and then deal for Davis. Considering the Celtics’ position right now — 5.5 games out of the top seed in the East, a disappointment given expectations — this doesn’t seem that far-fetched. I highly doubt the Pelicans would want Irving back since they already have a point guard in Jrue Holiday. Maybe the Celts have soured on Irving as the leader of the team that can’t seem to get out of its own way.
3. Wait until 2020 to sign The Brow. The Celtics still have a bunch of young assets who will make them relevant in the East by then.
Still, what a bummer for the Celtics. Option No. 1 seems like what they’ll have to hope for, and that means the front office brass will sit on the edge of its seat through the upcoming NBA trade deadline.
Some bad news for Celtics fans.