With the Boston Celtics flaming out of the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals in the fashion they did — going down 0-3 and looking like a group in need of disbandment before forcing a Game 7 and once again proving that thesis correct under the brightest of lights — has pundits everywhere looking to break up the team’s core.
The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor believes that one of Marcus Smart, Derrick White, or Malcolm Brogdon is likely to be moved to address other issues on the roster — or in one case, switching out a higher salary for another. Among his group of potential trade targets were two defensive-minded wings (Jerami Grant, Terance Mann), and two former NBA champions with the Lakers (Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso).
“If the Celtics are on the hunt for non–star players, they should consider sign-and-trade targets like Jerami Grant (for his defensive prowess) or Kyle Kuzma (for an offensive boost),” O’Connor prefaced before saying, “Terance Mann and Alex Caruso are worth a look, as well.”
The Boston Celtics must do everything possible to fortify backend of rotation
The Houdini thinks there’s a world where all three of Smart, White, and Brogdon are kept. An injury to one isn’t the end of the world, but a loss of one of them compromises the team’s offensive identity from this past season. Do remember this team had the No. 2 offensive rating in the league during the 2022-23 season.
If they are all kept, though, something must be done about the end of the roster. Beyond the team’s top seven players, there’s uncertainty. Grant Williams seems like a shoo-in to be too expensive in the offseason, while Payton Pritchard’s complaints about his role seem like his ticket out of town considering he didn’t grasp the opportunity when presented to him in the Eastern Conference Finals against Miami outside of Game 3. Mike Muscala was a trade deadline bandaid who had no role in the postseason, while Luke Kornet was ultimately overhyped considering his production.
The front office’s best bet of preserving a core capable of getting close, if being unable to obtain the cigar at this point, would be to figure out how to add to a core that is already a proven entity. Not tinker with it.