The Boston Celtics have an amazing opportunity to get better this offseason. Having possession of the #1 overall pick helps the Celtics control the draft. According to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe, a handful of teams have already shown interest in moving up for the top pick. The Celtics have a choice of either keeping or trading the pick. They really can’t go wrong with either option.
The Boston Celtics have a great cap situation. They can recruit star free agents to take their talents to Beantown. In reality, the Celtics may just be two good additions from winning it all. Though, any team trading with Danny Ainge better makes sure that they don’t get swindled and end up like the Brooklyn Nets.
Here are 5 moves that the Celtics could make that each serve their own benefits to getting them back to the NBA Finals.
5. Draft Markelle Fultz
Markelle Fultz is the best two-way player in this draft. With his great length at 6’5 with a 6’10 wingspan, he can be a matchup nightmare for any team. There is a great chance that Markelle Fultz can live up to his hype and contribute to the C’s right away. The young man has a great confidence and has expressed great interest in playing in Boston.
xplaining that he would fit right alongside Isaiah Thomas. Fultz has the ability to play on the ball or off the ball. His length allows him to play up to three positions.
However, most likely drafting Fultz would be a move for the future. It would hint to the fans that Ainge is going to build this core for the next 2-3 years to contend. The problem in trading this pick for a star is with how much assets you’d have to deal. It could disrupt the flow and chemistry of this C’s team. Lastly, if they draft Fultz, they’d still have the cap space to sign a max-level player (Check #1).
4. Sign Paul Millsap
Paul Millsap will be a free agent this offseason and the Boston Celtics have been linked to him for a couple seasons now. The problem is the Boston Celtics could be looked at the Atlanta Hawks 2.0 with this move. Reuniting the big man duo of Al Horford and Paul Millsap. The two played very well off each other. That Atlanta Hawks team did win 60 games but they got swept by the King and Cleveland in two consecutive seasons.
The argument I can make against this is that the surrounding pieces of the current Boston Celtics team is far better than that Atlanta Hawks team was. First off, Brad Stevens is a better coach than Mike Budenholzer. Each team has only one All-Star currently but Stevens did so much more with less. Avery Bradley is better all-around player compared to Kyle Korver, who is really just an above average shooter. Isaiah Thomas is an All-NBA level talent compared to the one-time All-Star in Jeff Teague. Keep in mind in addition to signing Paul Millsap, they could draft Markelle Fultz. Adding those two exceptional talents to a 55 win team and a 1st seed in the East could make for an insane turnout next season. Paul Millsap does a little bit of everything and that will be appreciated in Boston.
3. Trade for Andre Drummond
Andre Drummond and the Detroit Pistons may be looking to part ways after a setback year of Detroit’s development last season. Perfect opportunity, for the Boston Celtics to swoop in and offer Detroit an offer that they can’t refuse to get what would be the solution for their rebounding problems.
It’s no secret that rebounding is the Achilles heel of this Boston Celtics team. We saw them struggle to contain Chicago’s Robin Lopez in round 1 and again to contain Tristan Thompson in the ECF. Having a guy like Andre Drummond that can get you like 15+ rebounds on any given night changes the situation completely. It also allows Al Horford to move back to the power forward which is a move natural fit for him.
A package like Avery Bradley, Tyler Zeller, Terry Rozier and the 2017 first pick for Andre Drummond and the 12th Pick would suffice.
This deal would benefit Detroit because they get a potential future backcourt of Markelle Fultz and Avery Bradley. They could easily become the best defensive backcourt in the league. Terry Rozier would add to their point guard depth but has shown he can play off the ball some too. A piece like Tyler Zeller likely pans out as a backup center and they can give Boban some heavy starting minutes.
The Boston Celtics would be giving up some defensive versatility in their backcourt but they still have two promising defensive guards in Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown. They would be gaining the solution to their rebounding woes. Imagine a starting 5 in Isaiah Thomas, Jaylen Brown/Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder, Al Horford, and Andre Drummond. They’d still have the 12th pick in a loaded draft too.
Maybe draft a Terrance Ferguson out of the NBL, or Donovan Mitchell out of Louisville who possesses a similar skill-set as an Avery Bradley. They’d still have cap space to add a big name free agent too.
2. Trade for Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler is another name that has been linked to the Celtics most recently at last trade deadline where a deal nearly went through but Boston might have overvalued the pick. Jimmy Butler is one of the best two-way guards in the game and can play the 2 or the 3. Butler would give the Celtics another go-to scorer that the Celtics need to take the weight off of Isaiah Thomas’s shoulders offensively. Butler is a proven scorer that has shown that he can drop 25-30 points on any given night. That matched with his pesky defense and competitiveness gives the Celtics the type of player that they love. One that plays with toughness and heart.
The Celtics could ship out Avery Bradley, Jaylen Brown, and the 2017 1st pick to Chicago for Jimmy Butler. Here me out on this one.
The Chicago Bulls would be getting a defensive stopper in Avery Bradley and a formidable backcourt with Bradley and Fultz. Unless they decide to start Rondo. A potential starting small forward in Jaylen Brown. This would give the Bulls a solid foundation for starting their rebuild properly this time. The Wade-Rondo-Butler experiment was a fail, time to move on.
The Celtics would be taking a risk but it would be definitely worth it. They are primed to compete right now and Bradley will be 30 next year and a free agent with a high asking price. Butler is much younger and hasn’t even reached his full potential. Could morph into a perennial MVP candidate for many years to come. Brown and Fultz will likely take 2-3 years to become fully developed. A starting lineup of Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart/Terry Rozier, Jimmy Butler, Jae Crowder, and Al Horford is music to a Boston fan’s ears.
Obviously Smart and Butler would have to bury the hatchet but if winning is the ultimate goal nothing should a problem. Crowder and Butler would get to reunite as former Marquette teammates and roommates.
1. Sign Gordon Hayward
The Celtics are one of those rare teams that made the Eastern Conference Finals, have a top pick in the draft, and a great amount of cap space to add star talent. What better than Gordon Hayward, who would fit amazing in Boston’s system because of his familiarity with Brad Stevens coaching style? It would take him little time to assimilate into the Boston Celtics system and now the Celtics have a piece that can make star players like Durant and LeBron actually work on the defensive end. Gordon Hayward is only 27 and just about to enter his prime. He has improved steadily every season. Next year, he could break out into an All-NBA like a talent that averages 25 ppg, 6rpg, and 5apg. Just spitballing on his potential because it wouldn’t surprise me if his development took this route.
The best thing is they could add Hayward, keep the core together and still draft a top pick in Markelle Fultz. Imagine a potential roster with the likes of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Gordon Hayward, Jae Crowder, Al Horford, Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Markelle Fultz, GuerschonYabusele, Ante Zizic, and Abdel Nader. That is not bad at all. Maybe add his some veterans on vet minimum contracts and that’s a team that can contend for the next 4-5 years.