In midst of the Anthony Davis trade hoopla, Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum decided to join in with his own hyperbole. When asked via the Celtics Beat Podcast, Tatum stated that he would trade himself for Davis if he were considered a trading option.
“Yeah, I’d trade me too for Anthony Davis,”
Whether it sounds good on paper or not, a Tatum-for-Davis trade is not likely to happen. But it could. A possible scenario would be to trade Tatum, Rozier and a draft pick for Davis and a role player. With that trade, the Celtics get another crucial building block, and the Pelicans can start anew with a budding star.
So if the Celtics had the dilemma of actually taking Tatum’s comments into consideration, which solution would be wisest? In short, the Celtics should at least consider it. But if nothing materializes in terms of interest from the Pelicans, leave well enough alone.
The Celtics, in theory, are in a good position to be in for the long term. They have a superstar in Kyrie Irving, an anchor in Al Horford, and more than enough talent for role players. This surplus has allowed the Celtics team to have the ability to survive if Irving has an off night. Terry Rozier, Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward have made the Celtics have one of the deepest rosters in the NBA.
But at times, what was geared to help the Celtics has actually hindered them this season: lack of clarity with their roles. For Hayward, he and Irving were poised to become a one-two punch when both landed in Boston in the summer of 2017. But Hayward is still working his way back from a devastating ankle injury to start to 2017-18 NBA season. Hayward’s play put more pressure on Irvin to perform this season.
Rozier, Brown, Horford, and Tatum carried the load last season in the absence of Irving and Hayward. When Hayward and Irvin returned, it was hard to not imagine the other four players vying to prove their worth. This parlayed to the Celtics becoming an iso team, abandoning Brad Stevens motion sets. While the abundance of talent is great, it’s taken near the midpoint of the season for the Celtics to find their meshing point.
For the Celtics, their talent issue could be a reason to offload a couple pieces for Davis. If Davis and a role player land there for, say, Tatum, Rozier and a draft pick, the clarity issue for Boston would clear. The team will easily understand that the offense flows through Davis and Irving. Hayward becomes a high risk, high reward feature within their system. If he’s successful, the Celtics can establish a true Big Three in the East. If not, he can still play the role of a quality role player, deferring to Irving and Davis. Brown can continue to develop without the pressures of attempting to do too much.
But it shouldn’t come as a surprise if the Celtics elect to stay with their current roster. When they are clicking, they are difficult to stop. Hayward’s 35 point explosion Jan. 2 is a sign of good things to come. But in the end, it’s still the NBA, where the impossible always happens.