It didn't take long for the Boston Celtics' new president, Brad Stevens, to make his imprint on the organization. Out went point guard Kemba Walker, as well as two draft picks, former Celtics center Al Horford and Moses Brown, and the 2023 second-round pick from OKC.
As well as boosting the C's roster, Stevens has simultaneously gained salary cap space, of which Boston has little to utilize this summer. In any offseason trade, they will likely be looking to use their leftover trade exceptions. Or they could include costly salaries from their roster such as Marcus Smart's, Tristan Thompson's and Evan Fournier's in a sign-and-trade deal.
In this article, we will examine three trade deals the Boston Celtics could negotiate to improve on their disappointing campaign this year.
Three players the Boston Celtics could target this summer
For a team who made the Conference Finals in the bubble, the Boston Celtics had a mightily disappointing campaign this year. Injuries thwarted any consistency the team could get together, and while Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown had electric seasons on the offensive end, the team as a whole struggled on defense, finishing 15th for efficiency.
Combined with the fact that the Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks dominated the conference while the New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks have improved, the Boston Celtics don't want to get caught losing touch. This means they will need to make several adjustments to the team's roster, some of which we will delve into in this article.
#1 Bradley Beal
A blockbuster trade the Boston Celtics could pursue involves bringing in Washington Wizards forward Bradley Beal. The small forward stirred up rumors this week after speaking highly about his partnership with Jayson Tatum at USA Basketball training.
Inevitably, bringing in a player of Beal's stature won't come cheap for the C's and would likely have to involve several future draft picks, as well as Marcus Smart and one or two other players. While the Wizards would not want to cripple themselves for next season by losing their top scorer, Boston could get lucky with the fact that Washington may be scared of Beal leaving next year with his player option coming into play.
Although it would in turn cripple the Boston Celtics' future significantly, Beal would certainly make the franchise a contender for the title next year with three incredible shooters in the starting lineup.
#2 Lonzo Ball
With Walker departing, the Boston Celtics will now be in the market for a new point guard. More importantly, somebody who fits in better alongside Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who doesn't necessarily have to be the primary ball-handler to shine but who can also create shots for others.
Lonzo Ball became a free agent this offseason and will be on many teams' radar after his career-high shooting season in New Orleans. The 23-year-old was a prolific three-point scorer this year, connecting with 37.8% of attempts from beyond the arc and scoring six threes or more in seven games.
In order to attain his services, the Pelicans may take part in a sign-and-trade deal with the Boston Celtics in which they would receive Marcus Smart and a future first round pick. That would shed a big contract off of Boston's books while bringing in an exciting young two-way guard. Although they would lose Smart's defensive toughness, Ball averaged the same amount of steals as the Celtics guard this year (1.5 per game) and had the same defensive rating (113).
#3 Larry Nance Jr.
As well as a new point guard, the Boston Celtics badly need help in the paint and while Al Horford provides that, it is not certain if the C's will use him as part of another trade deal this offseason. They could therefore trade for a versatile forward who won't put them out of pocket in Larry Nance Jr.
Although it could be difficult to prize him away from the Cleveland Cavaliers, the C's could offer multiple future picks, Romeo Langford or another of their young role players. They also have the benefit of the fact that the Cavs have a wealth of talent on their frontcourt.
Nance is effective on both ends of the floor and could be the Celtics' starting power forward or as an exciting weapon to have off the bench. For a big man he can do it all. He shoots the three balls well, grabbed 1.7 steals per game last year, close to seven rebounds and could be an option as a small-ball five in the paint on defense.