By: Brennen Krikorian
In a span of just three seasons, the Boston Celtics went from one of the more overachieving teams in the league, to one of the most underachieving. While the Celtics future is still incredibly bright thanks to the tandem of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, Boston has been unable to get over the hump of being true title contenders.
A large part of that inability to contend came from now-former general manager Danny Ainge’s reluctance to make trades for star players around the league. Now that Ainge is gone and Brad Stevens is calling the shots, the former head coach might want to shake things up right away.
There are a plethora of ways to attack this offseason, but it seems likely that Stevens will want to make a big trade prior to the 2022 campaign. Below are three blockbuster trades that the Celtics may want to take a look at this summer.
Big Baller Brand Heads to Beantown
Boston Celtics receive: PG Lonzo Ball (via sign-and-trade)
New Orleans Pelicans receive: PF Obi Toppin, PG Frank Ntilikina, SG Romeo Langford, 2022 first-round pick (via Boston)
New York Knicks receive: PG Kemba Walker, 2021 second-round pick (via New Orleans), 2022 second-round pick (via New Orleans)
When Kemba Walker first arrived in Boston, the fit seemed perfect. A veteran in the league who desperately sought the ability to play in the playoffs, his natural scoring ability was expected to take a load off of Tatum and Brown on offense while serving as a leader in the locker room from day one.
In two seasons with Boston, Walker averaged 19.9 points and 4.8 assists, but his injuries and inconsistency led to a lack of trust among management and Celtics fans. Rumors have now emerged that both Walker and the Celtics want a fresh start and this trade could help all involved.
Walker would get to play for his hometown team in the New York Knicks, a young team that overachieved in the regular season, but are in need of a proven veteran to take the load off of their younger stars, a situation that was similar to Boston’s. The Knicks have yet to decide on their plans with current guard Derrick Rose, and despite the contract situation, Walker would be somewhat of an upgrade at that position.
The Celtics would bring in a young guard in Lonzo Ball, whose perimeter defense and playmaking ability are two aspects that Boston needs in its lineup. At only 23 years old, Ball fits the Celtics roster perfectly, and after coming off a career year, he could be a great player for Stevens and the Celtics to acquire.
As for New Orleans, the post-Anthony Davis rebuild stills needs a year or two before it can be a contender. The acquisition of Obi Toppin allows for coach Stan Van Gundy to run a small-ball starting lineup with Zion Williamson at center and/or provide a spark plug off the bench. His similar build and playstyle will allow Toppin to learn from from Williamson and getting younger players and picks will make for great assets once the Pelicans reach a legitimate level of contention.
Myles Turner Finally Becomes A Celtic
Boston Celtics receive: C Myles Turner
Indiana Pacers receive: C Tristan Thompson, PF Grant Williams, SG Romeo Langford, 2021 first-round pick (via Boston)
For nearly two calendar years, the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers have been in trade rumors surrounding Myles Turner. Prior to Gordon Hayward leaving for Charlotte, it was believed that he would be headed to Indiana, his preferred destination, in exchange for Turner.
That rumor obviously fell through and this offseason, the Turner to Boston beliefs have returned with vengeance.
Despite only playing 47 games this season, Turner was nearly a Defensive Player of the Year candidate. This season, the 2015 draft pick finished with 159 blocks, good for second in the league, and he led the league with 3.4 blocks per game.
Turner has been a defensive anchor since his first day in the league, but the growth of his 3-point shooting has transformed him into a premier asset for this Celtics team. His ability to clog the paint defensively and space the floor on offensive would provide a drastic boost to this team on both ends of the court.
This trade also makes sense for Indiana. The Pacers have shown glimpses of potential playoff contention but have inevitably fallen into a state of purgatory within the conference. This trade allows for the start of a much-needed rebuild and the Pacers can get a solid head start with two young players, as well as a first-round pick.
Porzingis Returns to the East
Boston Celtics receive: PF/C Kristaps Porzingis
Dallas Mavericks receive: PG Kemba Walker, 2022 lottery protected first-round pick (via Boston)
Over the past few weeks, both Walker and Porzingis have had their names in nearly every trade rumor that has surfaced.
Despite having a somewhat decent regular season, Porzingis was abysmal in the first round of the playoffs, averaging 13.1 points and 5.4 rebounds on pretty inefficient shooting splits. Following the team’s first round exit, the Mavericks big man voiced his displeasure about his team’s situation.
While both Porzingis and Walker have had continued injuries over the past few seasons, they can both be helpful to contending teams when healthy. This trade simply comes down to a change in scenery for both sides.
Similarly to Myles Turner, Porzingis fills a large hole in the Celtics roster. His 7-foot-3 frame and proven ability to stretch the floor would help this team on both sides of the ball. At only 25 years of age, the Latvian native keeps Boston’s roster young and he still has plenty of time to return to the level of stardom he played at in New York.
On the other side of the deal, Dallas gets a veteran ball handler who can take the load off of Luka Doncic. At 31, Walker is definitely past his prime, but his playmaking ability and leadership could give a massive boost to a young Mavericks roster, similarly to Chris Paul‘s addition in Phoenix.
Other potential trade additions for the Celtics include:
PF/C Al Horford (Oklahoma City Thunder)
SG Buddy Hield (Sacramento Kings)
SG/PG Collin Sexton (Cleveland Cavaliers)
C/PF Montrezl Harrell (Los Angeles Lakers)
Cover photo via: si.com
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