If it turns out the Boston Celtics don’t have enough to win the NBA Championship this season, this would be a perfect 3-team deal to land the likely two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
It has been an unpredictable road to the Eastern Conference finals for both the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat. The Cs knocking off the defending champions wasn’t much of a shock considering the “pick-em” nature of every game. Each contest made the next even harder to predict, with Game 6 being so wild that Game 7 was a nail-biter the whole way through.
Miami’s dominance of the Milwaukee Bucks in their Eastern Conference semifinals matchup was far more stunning. Giannis Antetokounmpo was undoubtedly the regular season MVP, but his dominance disappeared when a team was able to stick an elite stopper on him surrounded by other long and pesky defenders.
The Heat replicated the 2018-19 Toronto Raptors’ strategy with Jimmy Butler reprising the role of Kawhi Leonard and Bam Adebayo, Jae Crowder, and Andre Iguodala playing as Serge Ibaka/Pascal Siakam/Danny Green stand-ins.
Now, there is scuttlebutt that Milwaukee could trade Antetokounmpo given the recent shortcomings of a Bucks roster that has limited means of improving given long-term salary commitments…and the Boston Celtics can be a stealth suitor.
Per Danny Leroux of the Athletic:
A surprisingly under-the-radar destination considering their current success and young talent, the Boston Celtics absolutely have the assets to make a deal happen. Presumably Jayson Tatum is off the table, but Danny Ainge could make Jaylen Brown the centerpiece and add in a variety of young talent and/or capable veterans, depending on what the Bucks want. Additionally, the Celtics can offer to use Gordon Hayward’s expiring contract as a tool to take on undesirable long-term money, though that would get intensely expensive for their ownership down the line.
Now here’s a disclaimer: sacrifices are going to have to be made to acquire a player as talented as Antetokounmpo. If any team has a chance to improve their offer after this postseason, it’s the Boston Celtics.
And remember, if the Cs win, no deal should take place. Don’t fix what isn’t broken.
Anything short of a title? Then you make a move for the most dominant singular force in the game.
But again, sacrifices. The Houdini is willing to make them…to a degree. Giving up Jaylen Brown is a line we refuse to cross. That said, we have a deal that could satisfy Milwaukee’s itches if they look to pivot to a rebuild while also remaining competitive in the interim, and it’s going to hurt the hearts of Celtics fans everywhere.
Oh, and it involves a third team.
Not just any third team either…Boston’s Eastern Conference finals opponents, the Miami Heat, is the team in question.
The following deal is a bona fide blockbuster in every sense. In fact, all three teams may benefit, including the Heat–who could change plans after losing out on their top 2021 free agent target in Antetokounmpo:
Why the Boston Celtics do it:
The Cs obviously get the best player in the deal in Antetokounmpo, but they also get a legitimate starting point guard in Eric Bledsoe and two veteran bench pieces in Andre Iguodala and Kelly Olynyk.
With a big-3 of Antetokounmpo, Tatum, and Brown and a starting lineup rounded out by the defensively sturdy Bledsoe and Daniel Theis, this deal fills in the blanks on the bench next to Robert Williams and Brad Wanamaker/whoever else they fill in as the backup point guard.
Why the Miami Heat do it:
If Antetokoumpo is off the board after a deal with the Cs (and potential subsequent extension) the Heat could complement their two All-Stars with another 2020 All-Star in Walker and a former All-Star and former Heat target in Gordon Hayward.
With their cap tied to their new star quartet, the Heat can fill out their roster with undervalued free agents and undrafted rookies–you know, like they usually do.
Why the Milwaukee Bucks do it:
If Antetokounmpo isn’t going to come back next year no matter what, and the team as currently constructed isn’t going to win a title with no clear path to improvement, the Bucks need to maximize whatever return they can get.
This deal gives them a plug-in All-Defensive First Team guard in Marcus Smart, a potential star in Tyler Herro, an ideal sixth man in Kendrick Nunn, and three first-round picks from Boston. One of those picks could be the Bucks’ own 2020 first-rounder that the Cs acquired in the Aron Baynes trade with Phoenix, and one can certainly be the 2020 lottery pick via Memphis.
No matter what, this combination of fringe stardom from Smart, potential stardom in Herro, and draft capital from Boston (with a nifty role-player in Nunn thrown in) is the best return Milwaukee can get in a return.
What do you think Boston Celtics fans? Would you give up this much to bring Antetokounmpo to Beantown?
Let us know in the comments section below!