It seems more likely than not if Kyrie Irving ends up walking away from the Boston Celtics, they will focus on building around their youth. If the possibility is there, the Celtics should consider moving up in the draft.
There are un-likely possibilities, and then there are pipe-dreams. Zion Williamson is a pipe dream. The only way the pelicans ever even think about trading away the number one pick is if Anthony Davis decides to re-sign and a team offers a super-star caliber player in return.
While there is sure to be un-happy superstars in the league who would want to get traded, Davis falls into that same category meaning New Orleans will keep the pick.
Despite the number one pick being off-limits, number two and three seem very intriguing. Starting with the Memphis Grizzlies at pick two. This is a team that has dealt with Boston before and the Celtics actually still currently have their first round pick for next year.
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The Grizzlies have loads of cap space, and also have a pricey point guard with one year left on his contract. Logistically, this trade could make sense.
The trade would start with the number two overall pick, obviously. That is the big part of the deal and an asset that will come with a hefty price tag. However, Boston has assets. To start they could trade Memphis their pick right back for next year. Obviously, the pick would then become un-protected because it will return to the original team.
The next asset to throw in the deal would be the top two first rounders the Celtics hold this year, which would be picks 14 and 20. They could also throw in 22, but having three first round picks in the same year could create possible cap issues and for Memphis the pick is not that valuable.
To cap it off, the Celtics would throw in Terry Rozier with a sign-and-trade and any other players bench players the Grizzlies would desire (aka Guerschon Yabusele). This would set the Grizzlies up with two picks this season, a legitimate starting point guard, and their own first rounder back next year. Maybe the Celtics throw in another pick or two as a sweetener, but that would be the base of the deal.
I can’t imagine the Grizzlies would take this immediately. The offer is fair, but not something that would blow them away. It would be tough to draw any team away from Ja Morant, but the Grizzlies need more than just one piece. This trade allows them to fill their roster out.
If the Grizzlies do end up declining the trade, the next logical step for Boston would be to check with the Knicks on the number three overall pick. The trade partner does not truly make sense for either of these teams. Boston and New York rarely trade within the conference, and it is after all “Boston and New York”.
However if these two teams do decide to make a move, it could benefit both of them. Let’s start with what the Celtics would be getting with the number three pick. Assuming Williamson and Morant are off the board, the next best player is RJ Barrett. While some may think the first two picks are head and shoulders above Barrett, this is not a new situation for the Boston Celtics.
Both Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum were at one time considered the best players in their respective draft class, just as Barrett was. Danny Ainge has not been afraid to draft unconventionally as we saw with him trading the number one overall pick to select Tatum, or picking Brown third, despite some mock drafts having him go as high as pick eight.
As for what is included in the deal, it would be similar to the Grizzlies offer. Two first rounders, and Rozier in a sign-and-trade. The difference in this one, which makes it more realistic than the other offer, is this one also includes Brown.
If Danny Ainge loves Barrett, and believes he could play along-side Tatum, why not pull the trigger. Personally, I think Brown can still be a stud in this league, but if Ainge doesn’t see it, then he may opt to go with the younger Barrett.
The Celtics have the assets to trade into the top three. A team with Brown, Tatum and Morant seems deadly, although it is un-likely to happen. A team with Tatum and Barrett could be one of the most lethal offensive duos in the game.
Or, Ainge could opt to just keep Brown and Tatum and hope the two can develop. Whatever Ainge has in mind, we will find out soon.