Now or never
Make no mistake about it, the memorable 2018 run for this Celtics squad ranks up there with the team’s history. From young talent to cinematic drama, The Celtics have done its part to remain among the elite. With the setting for the future becoming more clear, Danny Ainge put the pieces and personnel together to excite and deliver. To somewhat no avail though, as a championship seems to be the in-reach goal yearly, Gang Green hasn’t seen the Finals since 2009-2010. Eight years is a long time for Celtics fans, and it could be longer. Big Al’s been essential, and the group of young guns? Stellar. But the need for a young, pure big man is what the team might need to make it over the almost decade long hump. Easier said than done. Gordon Hayward will be back, as will Irving, back to himself in no time.
Having short, easy-to-break contracts is perfect for the Celtics. Two huge names come to mind for Boston, with K.A.T. not enjoying the cold in Minnesota anymore, and Anthony Davis tired of losing in New Orleans. Cousins may even be attractive as he brings that no-bull you-know-what attitude, but unlikely unless in a sign and trade. The jury’s still out as we don’t know his plans for New Orleans and signing him outright isn’t possible. LeBron’s the brick wall in the east, and both Philly and Milwaukee are right on the Celtics’ heels. Let’s explore two ideas that would intrigue Boston fans, but satisfy the loss of a potential beloved player. Time to rip off the band aid.
Karl Anthony-Towns – C
Baby Shaq is something that comes to mind with this guy. A seven-foot house down low, and smooth as silk outside. Ok, maybe not quite Shaq, but nonetheless as dominant as we’ve seen since a young Dwight Howard (RIP). Since entering the league, Karl-Anthony Towns proved an intimating and ferocious presence for the NBA landscape. He doesn’t let a shot get by without being around and if you give him the ball, move. Drafted three years ago, his numbers have seen an uptick as he continues to grow into his own. Shooting an astounding 55% from the floor on average, a 25.1 PPG/12.3 RPG campaign in ‘16-‘17 really secured his name on the board. He saw a drop at 21.3 PPG/12.3 RPG in ‘17, but the emergence of Andrew Wiggins and addition of Jimmy Butler took that away a little bit.
Still, the kid’s a beast and one of the best young talents the NBA has to offer. The Celtics would breeze through the East with the addition of KAT, easily. Al swings to the 4, Barnes/Monroe/Theus help out the front court off the bench. Brown comes through from the 6th man or even start at SG, and Smart the 7th. Imagine that starting line up? Match made in heaven really. Interesting note, Al Horford and KAT’s moms are BFF’s, and KAT mentions Horford as a mentor. Hmm.
Here’s the tough part, Jayson Tatum has to go. Both he and Brown undoubtedly have been at the center of it all for the Celtics, but Brown wouldn’t get the juices flowing for Minnesota with Jimmy Buckets starting, Wiggins on the wing, and Jamal Crawford off the bench. Jeff Teague will need a back-up and that’s where Terry Rozier’s value could sweeten the pot. Wiggins also isn’t happy in Timberwolves Town, so Tatum would be a better replacement. C’s could add both Sacramento’s 2019/LA’s lottery-protected pick in 2019 to get the deal done. Towns only makes $6 MIL year and Tatum $5 MIL. Add Roziers $2 MIL and you got yourself a blockbuster.
Tatum is limited with his quickness and athleticism, so at best he may translate to a Paul Pierce, which still isn’t bad. But I’d rather have Baby Shaq then Pierce right now.
SF – Jayson Tatum
PG – Terry Rozier
2019 1st round pick from SAC
2019 1st round lottery protected from LAC
C – Karl-Anthony Towns
Anthony Davis – C
AD Busts Out in the Bayou
When you’re in the MVP discussion, you have to be pretty good to even get a mention. After bringing the New Orleans Pelicans to the second round in the playoffs, first in franchise history, it was no doubt Anthony Davis put the bayou on his back and soared through the NBA. One of — if not the most — prolific big man the league has today, unquestionably. Throw the guy an ally-oop and watch your head. Out on the perimeter? Good luck. On the block? Thank you, come again. You will not stop this guy point blank. 5x all-star, 2x All-NBA and 3x block champ, Davis’ 28.1 PPG/11.1 RPG has gained him the notoriety he deserves. Adding to that, he managed 28 PPG/11.8 RPG in ‘16-‘17 and 24.3 PPG/10.3 RPG in ‘15-‘16, which earned his way to the front of the young NBA culture.
He’s a freak with a crazy wingspan and game altering defense. Another Kentucky product like Towns, he’s equally, if not better, as good a defender and offensive producer. Listed at 6’11, he’s probably closer to 7’. With all of the above into account, you’re definitely going to have to give up a bit more to get him. Rozier’s value can be used since NO has a PG issue looming with Rondo, plus Brown would fit nice with Jrue Holiday and Cousins if he comes back. But who else would you add?
AD makes upward of $23M a year, so giving up younger players with small contracts won’t leave much meat on the bone for the Celtics. That leaves Hayward, Irving and Horford as the most available pieces to trade away. Irving isn’t going anywhere, and Hayward signed a stay-put contract.
Al Horford is aging, no matter how supportive he’s been to the Celtics success. Still, second on the team at $27.7M a year, you save money sending him away, and gain what could be a Hall-of-Fame big man in Davis. To secure his services, adding Jaylen at $5M and Rozier at $2M could just make it happen. Throw a pick or two depending on how greedy New Orleans can be, but they have a right with Anthony Davis. NO adds E’twuan Moore at $8.5M which still saves the Celtics $2M.
Ainge doesn’t like a luxury tax and keeps Boston’s books clean for the most part. Moore could add 12 PPG a game off the bench, and Boston keeps Tatum. The bro wants to win, and with Rondo/Cousins free agents, AD might take his talents to Boston Harbor instead. Al is loved, but Danny doesn’t care about feelings. Break out the beads and masks, it could be a party in Boston.
New Orleans receives:
C – Al Horford
SG – Jaylen Brown
PG – Terry Rozier
2019 1st round pick SAC
2019 1st round lottery protected pick LAC
C – Anthony Davis
SF – E’twaun Moore
Al Horford – Keep ‘em
Master Horford Leads Young Grasshoppers
The Godfather has showed his vet status as the playoffs progress. A steady 12.9 PPG/7.4 RPG got it done on a nightly basis. He was a leader in the locker room with the experience to pass off to the young guys, all while keeping them grounded in times of turmoil. His stats don’t say “look at me”, but enough to make the all-star team and currently two games away from the Finals, somewhere he’s never been. Registering 53 10+ point games with 11 putting up 20+, he also gave Boston 14 10+ rebounding games. He passes pretty well too for a big man, and he doesn’t demand the ball like an Anthony-Towns or Anthony Davis. He’s also not the worst on defense, having 23 multi-block nights.
You could send a Terry Rozier off for a pick somewhere mid-teens, or package something with Marcus smart for something a little higher, but the big men in this draft aren’t much more than DeAndre Ayton and Mohamed Bamba. Wendell Carter and Omari Spellman are big college names, but harder to tell if their non-traditional size at C will bode well next the NBA.
Its hard to find someone who has the resume Al Horford does. Older guy who’s seen some things, but wants to win before it’s over. Young guys respect him, coaches love him. That Kyrie/Horford pick and pop was excellent. Imagine adding Hayward on the wing ready to launch from a sharp eyed big passing off the block. Ainge is known for trading a previous Big Al from Boston for a one Kevin Garnett, so will he do the same for the sake of the crown?
An expeinced veteran who’s still servicable, and will anchor down a locker room. Great tutor for the already successful young core. Possibly a draft pick for right scenario without breaking up youth.
*Bleep* or get off the pot
Win some, lose some
With hopes of a 2018 title run, even if they manage to get past the king and all his men, Golden State or Houston could show why Irving and Hayward are missed. That’s not a shot at The Celtics, but to get this far has been one Hail Mary short of a miracle. They outlasted The Greek Freak, broke The Process, and have shoved their flag in The Land. Will it be enough to make it home?
Not so likely. Monroe/Baynes have been mediocre to say the most. Aside from Hordford, Boston has seen lack luster rebounding and down low defense. When Al comes out of the game, The Celtics heavily rely on the wing players and long-bomb three’s. Yes, it’s worked up to now, but how long can it last? They’re going to need a big man day in and day out that’s younger whos ready to shake and move.
My gut says go with KAT. Youthful, hungry, and would put the NBA on notice in a place like Boston. I think AD could do more, but his super-star element might take away from the Celtics core. You lose Taytum, but gain 3,4,5,6 championships? That big three of KAT, Irving, Hayward? My goodness.
That’s what I think would best benefit the Celtics best. Could AD be that bright spot? Will Ainge make the blockbuster move for Towns? Right now the stars are aligned for both of these big men to conquer another coast and move on to greener pastures. Pun intended. Hopefully DA sees the value in what a big man like those two can bring to an already dynamic, high-caliber team.
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