The Boston Celtics' offseason started out with a major change in their front office after longtime president Danny Ainge retired from his post. Now Celtics ex-coach Brad Stevens has taken over the job and has made moves to revamp the team's roster.
He made a splash with his first move as Boston's president of basketball operations by trading All-Star guard Kemba Walker to the Oklahoma City Thunder to bring back former Celtics center Al Horford. He also brought in Josh Richardson from the Dallas Mavericks via trade.
The Celtics undoubtedly still have championship aspirations with their current core of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart leading the way. However, that may not be enough for them to make it past the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference. Stevens' moves this offseason, however, indicate that he is making it a point to keep their financial flexibility for the summer of 2022 while still fielding a relatively competitive roster ahead of the 2021-22 season.
As with every season, there are some stars who become unhappy with their current situations. Should they request a release from their teams and become available, the Celtics should really consider trying to trade for one of these sulky campers. With that, here are a couple disgruntled stars Boston should try to acquire.
1. Damian Lillard
Teams around the league are keeping a close watch on Damian Lillard's current situation with the Portland Trail Blazers. It seems Dame Time is ticking for the Blazers to turn things around for the 31-year-old, who undoubtedly wants to compete for championships at this stage of his career. Portland has done very little to move the needle for a title run this upcoming season. If the Blazers struggle to begin the year and head toward an unfavorable direction, it wouldn't be hard to imagine Lillard eventually wanting out.
Should Lillard request for a trade, the Celtics should do all they can to acquire the six-time All-Star. A recent trade proposal from Bleacher Report suggested an ideal scenario for Boston, where the C's would not need to part ways with any of Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, or even promising center Robert Williams in a potential deal for Lillard.
In that suggested deal, the Celtics would trade Al Horford, Aaron Nesmith, Romeo Langford, Grant Williams, Payton Pritchard, two first-round picks, and two pick swaps to acquire the six-time All-NBA guard.
You'd think Boston would at the very least need to give up Jaylen Brown to land Dame Time. From the Blazers' point of view, Brown should be the centerpiece of any Celtics offer they would entertain.
Nonetheless, if Boston is somehow able to pull off the proposed Bleacher Report trade, this will undoubtedly propel them toward championship contender status and place them in the same echelon as the Nets and Bucks. Lillard would reunite with Team USA teammate Jayson Tatum. The two, along with Jaylen Brown, would form a big three that would be as scary as any trio in the NBA.
2. Bradley Beal
Bradley Beal is another unhappy camper who could emerge midway through the 2021-22 season. The Washington Wizards gave up on the Russell Westbrook experiment after one season and traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. After the Westbrook deal, many speculated Beal would follow suit and want out, given the apparent direction Washington is going. However, Beal made it clear he still wants to give it another go-round in the Capital City.
Still, it wouldn't be hard to imagine that if Washington doesn't play up to Beal's standards, the disappointment will finally reach its tipping point. The three-time All-Star has a player option for the 2022-23 season, which means he could be a free agent after this upcoming campaign. Thus, if Beal makes it known that he wants out, the Wizards won't have much of a choice but to deal him, given the likelihood that he leaves in the 2022 offseason for nothing.
Should this situation unfold, the Celtics should pounce on the opportunity to acquire Beal and pair him alongside his good buddy Jayson Tatum. Washington probably won't have much leverage in a potential Beal deal because of his contract. Thus, as with the Lillard trade, they could probably get Beal without needing to include Jaylen Brown in a trade package.
Adding the No. 2 scorer in the NBA last season to form a big three with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown would undoubtedly make Boston a legitimate threat to the defending champion Bucks and the powerhouse Nets in the Eastern Conference.