Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics have a lot on their plate this summer after barely making the playoffs and going out in the first round.
They have already off-loaded Kemba Walker’s massive salary and brought in Al Horford, who will provide a much-needed boost to the C’s defense, passing, and floor spacing.
Hopefully, this move will be the first of many in Brad Stevens’ first offseason as President of Basketball Operations.
Many free agents are hitting the market this summer, and their respective teams are shopping many players. With Bradley Beal, Zach LaVine, and Stephen Curry hitting free agency next summer, the Celtics are not likely to pursue any of the big names in this year’s free-agent class or any potential stars who may request a trade like Damian Lillard.
Given the needs of Boston, Brad Stevens won’t have to shell out the war chest to acquire these role players.
Instead, the Boston Celtics will look to get cheap but high-level contributing role players to help them add the 18th banner to their collection. There are two ways the Cs can reach these affordable talents; they can sign them in free agency, or they could trade for them.
As a part of the latter route, we believe there are a few noteworthy misfits across the league’s landscape that the Celtics could trade for and develop into productive players:
Boston Celtics target No. 1) Lonnie Walker
The San Antonio Spurs are heading for days they haven’t seen in decades — a rebuild is upon one of the most storied and well-run organizations in recent NBA history.
With Kawhi Leonard gone, their Big-3 retired and Popovich likely joining them soon, the Spurs will be forced to tank or competitively rebuild to get back into the limelight they once dominated.
As it stands, the Spurs foundational pieces are solid but nothing exceptional.
Dejounte Murray jumps out as the franchise’s most promising young player, as he’s a long guard destined for all-time defensive greatness but has a very problematic offensive ceiling.
Beside him is Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell, Derrick White, Jakob Poeltl, Luka Samanic, and Lonnie Walker.
This article will be featuring that last name, Lonnie Walker, who the Spurs may or may not be looking to move.
Just last year, the Spurs drafted Devin Vassell with their lottery pick, who plays the same role and position as Walker but is a much better defender.
Currently, Derrick White and Dejounte Murray are in front of Walker in the rotation, leaving him to a bench role.
Walker is not good enough to warrant the Spurs’ coaching staff starting him, and a bench role is probably best for Walker until he learns to be more consistent.
The issue with Walker becomes the Spurs’ roster makeup.
Not only do they have two guys that play his position ahead of him, but they don’t have the creators to maximize Walker’s shooting and scoring.
The Boston Celtics have multiple creators to help develop Walker, and they need a bench scoring option.
Last season, Walker averaged 11.2 points on 52.3 TS% and 35% from deep. The two seasons before that, he shot 40% and 39% from downtown, respectively. Walker can shoot, but his shot selection and offensive load need tweaking.
He is not ready to create for himself as much as the Spurs need him to, and he needs more space to operate.
Next to Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, defenses will have too much on their hands handling them that Walker will have more open triples than he has ever seen in his entire career.
He is on an expiring contract and is just 22 years old. If the Boston Celtics can exchange one of their younger players and draft capital for Walker, the benefits can go a long way.
And, if it doesn’t work out, the Celtics created more cap space to chase big names next summer.