Hardwood Houdini is back for everyone’s favorite dog-days-of-the-NBA-offseason-activity, Grade the Trade, with a proposal from NBA Analysis Network’s James Piercey that would send the Boston Celtics stretch-big Maxi Kleber and a future first-round pick for oft-injured center Robert Williams III. Piercey believes that the Time Lord can “revolutionize” the Dallas Mavericks.
“This is a risk for Dallas,” Piercey wrote. “That much is obvious. Still, the potential reward is enormous. If the man known as Time Lord can improve his health, he could revolutionize this team.
“In some respects, Williams III is the archetypical modern big man. He’s an elite rim protector who can also defend in space. Williams can guard across positions. Offensively, he’s a strong pick-and-roll finisher with some surprising passing chops. He’ll compliment Luka Doncic perfectly, and then some.”
On the other side of the equation, Piercey sees this deal as the Celtics “playing it safe” while keeping flexibility in the future should the franchise feel that further moves are necessary.
“This deal has the Celtics taking the opposite approach from Dallas – they’re playing it safe,” Piercey wrote. “Kleber is the worst player of this bunch, but he’s solid and reliable. Meanwhile, adding a first-round pick is always a benefit. The Celtics will likely use this pick in a trade in due time. Adding one more asset to their collection will put them in the running for bigger moves.”
Trade grade for the Boston Celtics: A-
Kristaps Porzingis could provide the sort of rim-running on both sides of the ball Williams does, while also being a stretch big man who is even more efficient from beyond the arc than his former Mavericks teammate Kleber is. It’s possible that Porzingis and Williams’ skillsets could overlap a bit since there’s typically not much room for two centers who like to clog the paint and cover for the defensive mistakes of their teammates.
Porzingis and Kleber’s skillsets cannot overlap, since you can never have too much shooting. A power forward-pivot combination like what Dallas had for two and a half seasons is ideal for Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown having the space to operate in the mid-range and the lanes to get easy buckets at the rim.
This hypothetical would be a win for the Celtics, with a first-round pick and a cost-controlled complementary player being the haul for someone who has missed more than half of the season three of his five years in the league.