Though the Boston Celtics are still in play to win an NBA Championship in 2019-20, that certainly has not stopped the trade rumor mill from spinning, this time in regard to an offseason trade involving LaMarcus Aldridge.
The Boston Celtics currently find themselves in quite an intriguing position. While they still find themselves in the running to win the 2020 NBA Finals — and are seen as a legitimate contender to do so –, this offseason, they have the opportunity to get even better in preparation for the 2020-21 season.
Flush with draft capital galore, it is more than likely that their roster improvements will come in the form of their three 2020 first-round picks. However, this is not to say that their draft selections will solely bring them rookie talents.
Holding this many selections is beneficial for two specific reasons:
- It is a way to bring on young players in an extremely cost-efficient manner
- It is a way to entice a franchise to engage in trade talks, with the prospect of said franchise accomplishing reason number one: bring on cheap, young players
We’ve discussed numerous options in regard to both routes for the shamrocks, and have seen the team come away victorious no matter which path they chose. However, one recent trade rumor goes against the pattern of success we’ve seen Boston have in many of the hypothetical scenarios that have come before.
Carter’s reasoning reads as follows:
For as long as I can remember, Danny Ainge has been hoarding draft picks and using them to swing at prospects. Some of them hit and others don’t but at this point in the process, there’s no need for them to keep using all of these picks. Instead, Ainge could be poised to make a trade with the San Antonio Spurs for one year of LaMarcus Aldridge without much risk.
It’s plain to see that Boston’s weakest position is Center. They have a wide variance of players to man the perimeter at positions two through four and have an All-NBA point guard running the show, but the center position is less proven. Ainge doesn’t need to part ways with either of the guys who run center by committee currently to bring Aldridge in.
Instead, he’ll need to part ways with a draft pick that his team’s been scouting for years now — the Memphis Grizzlies’ 2020 NBA Draft selection. The pick that turned into Ja Morant was supposed to be theirs last season, but clearly that didn’t go in their favor. That selection is finally going to translate and this time, it’s outside of the lottery. By trading the last year of the third wing in their rotation, the Celtics can keep the ball in the right player’s hands and add a stout two-way presence to their frontcourt rotation.
Now, granted, Carter did mention many truths in his reasoning as to why he believes this could be a legitimate trade idea for the Boston Celtics.
Over the past several years, Danny Ainge has managed to accumulate a plethora of draft picks thanks to various savvy trades — most notably the 2013 deal with the Brooklyn Nets that wound up landing them Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Unfortunately, however, a large majority of these picks have either not panned out or were shipped out in other trades.
Also, it was a true statement when he said that the C’s center rotation was the weakest on the roster.
That said, however, none of these particular tidbits are any real justification as to why Danny Ainge should even consider such a deal.
Though Aldridge is in fact in the midst of yet another productive season — averaging 18.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks on 49 percent shooting from the field and 39 percent shooting from deep –, in reality, he’s easily on the decline of his career (34-years-old) and, frankly, does not appear to be a better fit for this 43-21 Celtics squad than Hayward is, who Boston would have to give up in the process.
Not only this, but with the Memphis pick — which is the one Carter suggests they give up in the deal — they could potentially nab themselves a talent to better fit Boston’s scheme and fill the need at the pivot without giving up someone of Hayward’s value, such as Jalen Smith (my favorite choice), Vernon Carey Jr., or Isaiah Stewart.
In this hypothetical scenario, we also see veteran wing Rudy Gay coming to Beantown which, I guess, was seen as somewhat of a sweetener in the deal. Based on name recognition alone, it would appear the shamrocks would be receiving a solid offensive-minded small forward to help bolster the team’s second unit’s offensive production that, currently, finds itself ranked 29th in points per game, 27th in 3-point percentage, and 22nd in offensive rating.
However, dig a little deeper — though, not much deeper — and you’ll find that the small forward is far past his prime himself, averaging a mere 10 points and 1.7 assists on 44 percent shooting from the field and a mere 31 percent shooting from deep.
All in all, while we do believe the Boston Celtics could consider partaking in trade discussions this offseason, it likely will not be with the San Antonio Spurs and should definitely not be in regard to LaMarcus Aldridge.