The Boston Celtics have gotten off to a great start to the 2019-20 season. As things currently stand, they possess an 11-4 record and trail only the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference standings.
After the departure of Kyrie Irving to the Brooklyn Nets in the offseason, the Celtics managed to replace him with Kemba Walker and that has worked out very well so far. However, there hasn’t been a great replacement option for Al Horford with options such as Robert Williams and Enes Kanter.
For the Celtics to take the next step as a team, acquiring a stretch five that can effectively protect the paint would be ideal. One option that meets that description is Indiana Pacers center, Myles Turner. While he wouldn’t bring the passing impact that Horford provided, Turner is a dynamic paint protector and can space the floor.
For reference, Turner led the NBA in blocked shots while shooting 38.8 percent from beyond the arc in 2018-19. He also has greater offensive upside that has yet to be tapped into as a result of being held to a usage rate below 20% since his rookie year — at a career-low 18% in 2019-20. Going from playing for Nate McMillan to Brad Stevens would only help, as well.
There were teams that were calling up the Pacers during the 2019 NBA Draft trying to trade for Turner but they were all rejected, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe. With the selection of Goga Bitadze and extending Domantas Sabonis’ contract, the Pacers could try to trade one of their centers if the Turner-Sabonis pairing isn’t the long-term answer.
It’s complicated to construct logical trade ideas between the Celtics and the Pacers, but what is known is that the asking price from Indiana would be high. It only further complicates matters when considering that Boston is telling teams that Gordon Hayward and Marcus Smart are not available in trades along with their other core players. according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
When looking at the assets at the Celtics’ disposal, it seems the 2020 Grizzlies first-round pick (top 1-6 protected in 2020, unprotected in 2021) would serve as the foundation of a trade package given the parameters. They do have other young players like Romeo Langford, Grant Williams, and Carsen Edwards along with other draft picks.
Matching salary could be rather complicated until players like Daniel Theis ($5M) and Enes Kanter ($4.767M) would be eligible to be traded. After Dec. 15, a hypothetical trade package that includes Theis, Kanter, Langford, and Williams (or Edwards) as the players included from the Celtics would work financially with Turner and additional players like Edmond Sumner ($2M) and Alize Johnson ($1.4) as fillers.
In addition to having all of their own first-round picks and that previously mentioned 2020 Grizzlies first-rounder, the Celtics have the 2020 Bucks first-rounder. Being willing to package multiple draft picks along with various young players would be the best package that Boston could put together.
Needless to say, this is an idea that seems to make sense, but it’s ultimately up to the Pacers to be willing to move Turner and to be interested in the Celtics’ assets.