Two unrealistic trades the Boston Celtics need to make
After an incredibly busy summer, it seems like the Boston Celtics are slowly settling to the new state of their franchise. Former general manager, Danny Ainge, has left his post and he has been replaced by the former coach of the team, Brad Stevens. While it seems like all the moves have been done, it is still possible to find some gold on the trade market.
Here are two trades that are unlikely, but are definitely worth a try for Stevens and the Celtics.
Potential Celtics trades
Bradley Beal for Jaylen Brown, Payton Pritchard, 2022 1st round pick, 2024 1st round pick, 2023 1st round pick swap
While I am sure the Celtics would love to keep the core of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, Bradley Beal is someone that is worth pursuing in this fashion. Brown did make strides in improving offensively and adding to his game overall, but Beal is definitely an upgrade and can provide Boston with an edge over the other Eastern Conference rivals and possibly, with a good year from rookie coach Ime Udoka on the bench and further improvement by Jayson Tatum, a deep run in April of next year.
Looking at the numbers, Brown averaged 24.7 points last year on 48.4/39.7/76.4 shooting splits, which is very productive, and is further improved by the point that he was not the focal point of the offense. Furthermore, he added 6.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.4 steals per game, which is not something that can be overlooked. Even past the numbers mentioned, Brown has immense effect on the Celtics when playing, but Beal would simply be a step forward for the squad.
Again, looking at the numbers, Beal averaged 31.3 points on 48.5/34.9/88.9 shooting splits, with the caveat that he took more shots and more free throws than Brown last year. Also, he was the main man on offense for the underwhelming Wizards squad and that is why absolutely every team in the NBA would love to get their hands on this player.
It cannot be overlooked that the Washington roster was only included in the Playoffs due to the fact that the Eastern Conference is generally less competitive than the West, and that Beal did have an all-time great next to him in Russell Westbrook, who has now left for LA to join LeBron James and the Lakers.
While the trade might look underwhelming for Washington, who have Beal on contract for the next year (possibly two, if he accepts the Player Option for season 2022-23), it is still a lot of picks coming their way for the future, and Jaylen Brown who can lead the young squad they have at least to the Play-in Tournament, where they can look to surprise generally stronger squads.
On the side of the Celtics, the one-two punch of Tatum-Beal would be almost impossible to deal with, especially if the rest of the roster is performing their duties. Playmaking would be less of an issue, since Beal has shown that he can also handle the ball when needed, and Tatum will most likely handle the ball and call the shots offensively going forward, something that Brown would need more time to develop. This would be a win-now move, and the Celtics might be shooting their way up the contender ladder if Beal is added to the squad, even at the cost of Brown.
Kevin Love for Al Horford
If it was not clear by now, it should be: Kevin Love will most likely leave the Cleveland Cavaliers in the coming months. While many stories came to the surface about his future, with likely destinations being the Nets or the Lakers, it does seem like both of these franchises have their rosters set, especially with the Nets signing Paul Millsap and LaMarcus Aldridge. However, the Celtics might find a solid option in Love, who cannot be judged by his recent years with the Cavs.
The former UCLA forward had a turbulent career so far; first with the Minnesota Timberwolves where he was the undisputed leader of the franchise, and then with the Cavaliers where he did not always find himself and a suitable role, not even during the LeBron days in Ohio. However, he is still an NBA champion and, if used well, a force on the offensive end. His ability to rebound, extend the floor and share his championship experience with the rest of the roster, which is fairly young, might be the difference between a fringe postseason team and a team that can beat anyone on any given night.
Of course, what Al Horford has done in his career should not be minimized, but the 5-time All-Star is definitely past his prime and it is up to debate whether he can play to the level that has earned him his current contract. Love has also not held his own in the last couple of seasons, but it is clear that the Cavaliers never had him in their long-term plans, and thus they shut him down after just 25 games played this year.
In terms of a more direct comparison, Love is younger and has more relevant experience for the young Celtics squad, making four Finals runs with the Cavs. Horford also has immense experience in the postseason, but his teams were mostly stopped by LeBron-led teams in the first couple of rounds of the Playoffs. Also, Love has always been the better rebounder and shooter, which are two areas that the modern NBA seeks in a big-man. Horford does have his qualities, mostly in terms of finishing around the basket and good ball distribution from the elbows, but it still seems like Love would be a better fit in terms of how teams want to play today.
While both of the trades mentioned are theoretically possible, as it was mentioned previously, it seems like the Celtics have done their moves. It is highly unlikely that Beal will move on from Washington, and all reports out of Ohio point in the direction that Love will either be bought out, or will be a part of the rotation going forward. However, both of these trades would be upgrades and might help Boston reach a better position in the Playoffs.