Danny Ainge said it himself when he said he doesn’t think the Celtics have a championship roster. Currently in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, and sitting right at the .500 mark, the Celtics have not lived up to the expectations of a team led by their young superstars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. The Celtics have continued to struggle rebounding the ball as they had in recent years past, which has been a main issue of their season long defensive struggles. To add on to that, turnovers have hurt the Celtics as well, and have really become a problem when opposing defenses key in on Tatum and Brown. With that being said, there are numerous players who are either already available, or about to become available, whether it be through releases, buyouts, or trades. Here are four players that the Celtics should look to acquire before the trade deadline.
Blake Griffin, Power Forward, Detroit Pistons
With Blake Griffin, it seems unlikely that the Celtics would trade for him due to his insane contract, which pays him $36.3 million this year and also has a $38.9 million player option next year. It’s more likely that the Celtics would pursue Griffin if the Pistons were to buyout his contract, which could happen if the Pistons can’t find a trade partner for Griffin. The Pistons and Griffin decided that Griffin won’t play as they look to figure out what direction the two will take together. If Blake is to be bought out by the Pistons, the Celtics should jump at the opportunity to add the veteran big man. Griffin isn’t the same player he once was, as he’s transitioned from a high flying dunker to pretty much a spot up shooter now. However, he would offer the Celtics additional depth at the forward position, which they desperately need, while also giving the Celtics another source of scoring. Griffin’s numbers with the Pistons aren’t anything to write home about, but maybe a change in scenery to the TD Garden can help him rediscover his scoring form.
DeMarcus Cousins, Center, Houston Rockets
With the news that the Houston Rockets and DeMarcus Cousins are going to part ways, it looks like Cousins will be on a new team very shortly. While nothing is official, it’s seeming increasingly likely Cousins will be either outright released or bought out by the Rockets. With the Rockets having already announced their intentions, they have very little leverage in this situation. The Celtics could conceivably swoop in and beat other teams to the punch by trying to trade for Cousins, as a second-round draft pick could probably get the job done. They also could wait and take their chances in the buyout market, or try to sign him if he gets cut. For the low cost that will probably be associated with Cousins, it presents the Celtics with a low risk move that could potentially pay dividends to the team. Cousins clearly isn’t the same player he once was prior to his numerous injuries, but he presents a solid rebounding presence, who also can’t just be ignored at the three either. If the opportunity presents itself for the Celtics, they should look to pounce, and add Cousins to the mix.
Victor Oladipo, Shooting Guard, Houston Rockets
The Rockets seem poised to be launching a full scale rebuild soon, and rumors are swirling that they are looking to move Oladipo as a part of that rebuild. If the Rockets intend to be busy sellers at the deadline, the Celtics should stay in touch with them throughout the time leading up to the deadline. Oladipo is on the last year of his current deal, and when you combine that with the Rockets continued losing streaks, it’s looking more and more likely Oladipo will be on the move come the Trade Deadline. Oladipo would give the Celtics wing depth that they so desperately need, as he’s an above average defender who can score the ball, but struggles with his efficiency at times. Oladipo wouldn’t be expected to be the top option for the Celtics, which could help bring his efficiency back up to the level it was when he was with the Indiana Pacers at the start of the season. While Oladipo’s scoring numbers have taken a hit since he joined the Rockets, he’s averaging nearly five assists a game, which would be a welcome sight to a Celtics team that feels like it’s missing a true playmaker on some nights. A possible trade package for Oladipo could be:
Celtics receive: G Victor Oladipo
Rockets receive: G Romeo Langford, F Grant Williams, 2021 Celtics Second Round Pick, 2022 Celtics Second Round Pick
Al Horford, Center, Oklahoma City Thunder
Could a potential Al Horford reunion be in the works for the Celtics? For the Thunder, Horford doesn’t fit the timeline of a team that’s looking to get younger and acquire as many draft picks as seemingly possible. They could look to add some more assets from the Celtics in return for Horford, as the Thunder are almost certainly out of playoff contention already. After a down year with the Philadelphia 76ers, Horford has had a return to form with the Thunder so far, as he’s been able to boost most of his stats back to where they were when he was with the Celtics. Horford would provide the Celtics with another solid depth piece in the big man rotation. He’s already familiar with the system that coach Brad Stevens runs with the Celtics, and is a solid defensive player who could help shore up the paint for the Celtics. Horford is also shooting 38% from the three this season, which is a marked improvement from his past two seasons. Horford’s contract isn’t team friendly, but the if the Celtics make a good enough offer, the Thunder could be willing to help relieve the financial burden on the Celtics. A possible trade package for Horford could be:
Celtics receive: F/C Al Horford
Thunder receive: G Jeff Teague, C Tristan Thompson, and 2021 Celtics Second Round Pick
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