The Boston Celtics are brimming with top-tier talent in their roster right now, but it’s apparent that they still need to make a couple of moves to further improve their chances next season.
The Celtics don’t exactly have the significant cap room to sign the best free agents in the offseason. Their best bet would be to unload one of their higher-paid players and flip him for another star better suited for head coach Brad Stevens’ system.
With one year left in his $127 million contract, Gordon Hayward seems to be Boston’s most enticing trade bait this offseason. While injuries have hampered his career throughout his stay in Beantown, the one-time All-Star is just 30 years old and still a capable two-way player when healthy.
The Celtics also have three picks in the upcoming draft (14th, 26th, and 30th overall) which would certainly look good in possible trade packages.
Here are five players that Boston should consider seriously consider trading for.
To be clear, Turner is by no means a superstar. He has not even made it to an All-Star team just yet.
But under Brad Stevens’ equal opportunity system, the 6-foot-11 big might just be a game-changer for the Green and White.
The Celtics were outmatched by the Heat in six games in the ECF, mainly due to their inability to contain Bam Adebayo. Daniel Theis did a commendable job, but it’s apparent that they need a more dynamic starting big in the long run.
While Turner has failed to live up to his high ceiling so far, he possesses all the right tools lacking for the Cs right now. The former Texas Longhorn is a defensive juggernaut, as he led the league in blocks last season.
The Celtics are in dire need of some rim protection and there’s no better choice than Turner right now. In 62 regular-season games this year, the Indiana Pacers center notched 12.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 2.1 blocks.
People also forget that Turner is just 24 years old, so he still has a big window for growth. Maybe a change in scenery is what he needs to revitalize his career.
Turner is not the only Pacer that the Cs should be targeting via trade. Indy’s two-time All-Star guard Victor Oladipo has already expressed his desire to play for a different franchise next season.
The Celtics should strike while the iron is hot and find a way to bring the two-way ace to the fold.
It’s quite obvious that Oladipo’s game is tailor-fit under Stevens’ system. The 6-foot-4 athletic guard possesses a well-rounded skill set and can also play multiple positions. Adding him to the three-headed monster of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kemba Walker makes Boston’s offense even more unpredictable for opposing defenses.
The only potential hurdle for this pick-up is that VO seems to be in the same boat as Hayward. Oladipo didn’t play like his usual self after returning from a serious ruptured quad tendon this season.
The jury is still out if he’ll regain his All-Star form, but Boston should still roll the dice on this one given the massive returns they could have. The Celtics front office must get creative and offer the Pacers a blockbuster package in order to get both Oladipo and Turner.
This potential deal right here would be a long shot for Boston, but they must go all-in on this one if the opportunity presents itself.
Given his phenomenal play inside the bubble for the Utah Jazz, it doesn’t make sense for them to just trade away their All-Star center Rudy Gobert. However, multiple reports still claim that Gobert and Donovan Mitchell’s relationship is still on the fritz after that whole COVID-19 debacle.
The Celtics are possibly just one defensive-minded center away from being the best team in the East. The Stifle Tower obviously eliminates all those concerns. The two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year would be godsend for the Cs interior woes.
Acquiring Gobert will certainly come with a steep price, and Boston will likely need to break up their core for his services. A package centered around Jaylen Brown seems to be the most logical choice, given he already has a strong relationship with Mitchell.
Since dealing with Utah for Gobert may get tricky for Boston, they can still pursue another rugged center from the West. The Oklahoma City Thunder has reportedly put Steven Adams on the trading block since last year.
Granted Adams is far from a “superstar” but the 7-footer is still an intriguing double-double performer. While he is limited offensively, the New Zealand-native does make a lot of winning plays – particularly his ability to give his team extra possessions. His blocks averages may not be as high as Gobert and Turner, but he is a proven defensive force and will be an upgrade over Theis and Enes Kanter.
The Celtics do need a defensive presence down low and Kevin Love doesn’t really seem to fit the bill. However, the 5-time All-Star adds another dynamic to the dangerous Boston offense. Love’s 3-point shooting gives Boston another reliable option for their dribble-drive offense.
He is still a reliable rebounder at his age and will allow Tatum to slide back to his natural small forward position. Plus, it won’t take much to trade for the aging star, as the Cavs might even agree on a straight-up deal for Hayward.
If not, adding a draft pick or two should be enough to get his services.