Boston Celtics: Bam Adebayo is an ideal trade target–but is he attainable?

News broke yesterday that the Miami Heat were not planning on extending a contract extension for Bam Adebayo. Would the Boston Celtics be able to land the center in a trade?

The next 1-2 months will reveal what the true problems will be for the Boston Celtics moving forward unless of course, they win it all. You can’t have problems with achieving the goal, even if the roster could still theoretically have flaws.

If one of the teams ahead of them in the standings holds true to their record and wins it all, though, the bubble will have popped a hole in the C’s facade. While we know the bench’s lack of scoring threats outside of Marcus Smart and Enes Kanter, the likeliest deficiency that will pop up for Boston is the lack of a true rim-protector.

If Daniel Theis won’t suffice, perhaps Danny Ainge should kick the tires on how much it would cost to land Bam Adebayo–who Brian Windhorst strongly suggested would not be the recipient of a max-contract extension this offseason:

“He’s not going to get a max contract in the offseason,” said Brian Windhorst on his podcast. “Even though I think he should, because the Heat are going to save money for the 2021 summer. That’s a storyline that I can almost guarantee for you: Bam Adebayo will not sign a contract extension this offseason.

Now, the true reason Miami would be hesitant to sign him to a deal is that their eyes are locked on Giannis Antetokounmpo in 2021 free agency…not because they want to actively deal him. If the Boston Celtics were to pursue him, though, what would a deal look like? There’s a couple of different key points to touch on here.

First, financially, the C’s would have to come up with a mere $5 million in salary to match deals in a swap. Theis and Kanter are a direct salary match on their own, while any two of Romeo Langford, Vincent Poirier, Grant Williams, or Robert Williams also match up.

The only problem is, no amount of draft picks would make it worth it for the Heat to give up their All-Star center on any of these players. The truth of the matter is that the C’s will have to part with one of their core members to get a deal done.

Marcus Smart is a nice starting point, but with him, you will need to include several of the aforementioned players as well as draft stock. Losing such a key contributor for Boston stings, but so does committing much of your future draft capital and eventually your cap space for Adebayo with such little second unit depth.

Jaylen Brown would be a better option to deal, assuming his value is more in line with Adebayo’s. Brown isn’t yet an All-Star, but he isn’t far behind and already got an extension…one that should be less than Bam’s because of the latter’s All-Star berth in 2020.

Adebayo would bring parity to the lineup and such a deal would promote Smart into the starting lineup. That said, Brown has proven more in the postseason and could eventually have a higher ceiling. Ainge shouldn’t let go of Brown in this scenario.

Finally, there is the Hayward question. Hayward, like Adebayo, is due for a new contract in 2021 (assuming he opts into the $34 million he’s owed for 2020-21) but is likely looking at around the same or higher value for his next cap figure.

If that is the case, Adebayo–at 23 years old–is a more prudent investment than the 30-year-old Hayward. Now, to facilitate a deal, the $29 million difference in contract values for 2020-21 would have to be made up by the Heat dealing several contracts back Boston’s way. Andre Iguodola’s $15 million cap figure would work, as would Kelly Olynyk‘s $12 million player option he is unlikely to turn down.

Given the players coming in, the C’s would likely have to send out some or all of their upcoming 2020 draft picks. Adebayo is worth giving up non-lottery selections.

If Ainge could land the bouncy big for that price, Boston could soon become Bamtown.

Next: Is now the time to sell high on Kemba?

 

 

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