This summer the Boston Celtics lost center Al Horford in Free Agency, a player that some considered to be the most valuable on the roster, as well as their starting power forward Marcus Morris. They even traded away center Aron Baynes, the Celtics answer to Embiid and Giannis. While they did sign Enes Kanter, among other role players to replace the losses, they still lack a sure starter at the four.
Today we will look at five potential trade acquisitions to fill the void.
Yes, he is 34 and past his prime. But he is valuable in both his ability to lead a squad of younger players, as well his contract, which is expiring after this season. His offensive game is similar to that of Horford’s, and Millsap is even a better rebounder. But his best asset is his ability to anchor the defense, just like Horford. The Nuggets would most likely trade him because they fear losing him for nothing, as well as the prospect of getting young players. A deal with the Nuggets could potentially be a swap of Brown, Hayward, and a first rounder for Millsap and Grant.
Griffin, a top 20 player in the league, once again has a chance of joining the Celtics. The athletic “point” forward displayed quite possibly his best season yet last year, coming back strong from an only 25 game season prior. He’s not only a superb scorer, but he can pass and rebound as well. While he wouldn’t have the same defensive presence as Horford or Millsap, he is definitely not a liability. The Pistons, of course, would have to decide to start towards a rebuild, similar to the Thunder. That is more likely than people think, as the Pistons only went 41-41 WITH Griffin performing at a high level, as well as the fact that Drummond could opt out after this season.
The problem with getting him would be the surely high asking price. The Celtics would need to give up multiple young players like Brown, Edwards, Grant Williams, or maybe even Tatum as well as picks. But just imagine the all-star team up of Walker and Griffin, and Walker dishing out lobs for Griffin on the fast break!
The Raptors have lost Kawhi ,and have no other smart direction to go besides a rebuild. They have many solid young role players, but only one young star at the power forward position in Pascal Siakam. That means they have no room for Ibaka. He is an older, win now player at the same position as Siakam, the same position the Celtics need. He is also on an expiring contract. The Raptors will consider something as simple as a young bench player plus a pick to suffice.
And he is more than worth it. Ibaka is coming off one of his best years in the league, where he showed off his ability to score, rebound, and be the defensive anchor that the Celtics need. Yes, he isn’t the best three-point shooter or passer, but he doesn’t need to be in an offense with Kemba and Tatum. It is about time we bring the king of blocks to Boston.
It is no secret that he hasn’t had the best relationship with the Spurs. There have even been recent reports about wanting to go back to Portland. But Boston seems just as likely a destination. Aldridge is next to unstoppable in the post, and his game has aged well as a result. The improvements he’s made to his outside shot, and on the defensive end, also show that even at an older age he can still improve to be an even better star. With two years left on his contract and the wish to leave, all Boston has to do is dangle Brown or Smart, as well as a pick or two, in front of the Spurs to achieve a trade.
What may be the most likely trade option, Love could surprise people with a comeback season comparable to that of Griffin’s if he joins the Celtics. Love’s ability to play off ball allows him to thrive in virtually any system, especially that of the Celtics. It also wouldn’t affect the development of Tatum like some of the other options would. While he doesn’t address the Celtics need at the defensive end, he would make their offense one of the scariest in the whole league. His contract isn’t as bad as it once looked, as it isn’t a top-20 contract and it would end when he is about 34. What the Celtics would need to give up is one of the Williams’ and about three first rounders.
Are all of these trades a bit risky? Yes. But the payoff could be huge and allow for the Celtics to compete with conference foes like the Bucks and 76ers, as well as the new duo’s of the West.
Featured image via The Undefeated