The Boston Celtics are expected to be major players during the NBA Trade Deadline according to NBA Trade Rumors. But, with the team trailing only the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference, smart and gutsy decisions must be made. While the Celtics are sporting a 30-18 mark there are a few adjustments they could make to improve the roster.[Mark]
Isaiah Thomas has placed himself as one of the top 5 PGs in the NBA this season, Avery Bradley continues to improve and Jae Crowder provides flashes of being a consistent double-double guy nightly. There is an issue with the frontcourt but Celtics fans have been singing this song for the past two seasons and Danny Ainge has refused to address it like he should. The addition of Al Horford was a big step but it’s not enough.
Let’s be honest here, Horford is not the defensive presence that will lead the Celtics to a championship. His board work is weak at seven per game and he tends to rely on his perimeter shot a bit too much. Now, while the Celtics will definitely need his services come playoff time, they are short-handed when it comes to the PF position. Amir Johnson and Jonas Jerebko are almost invisible on the court and with the Celtics only grabbing 41 rebounds per (28th) there need to be changes made.
Good thing for them, trade rumors are leaning heavy on defensive post players this year. The Philadelphia 76ers may have Nerlens Noel on the block and the Orlando Magic and Serge Ibaka may be parting ways. There is also talk of the Los Angeles Clippers looking to move Blake Griffin and the Phoenix Suns have dangled Tyson Chandler in the past. All will be upgrades for the Celtics which will put them in a position to not only contend with the Cavs but beat them in a seven-game series.
However, the Celtics may have another move up their sleeve. Bradley is good SG but with the Chicago Bulls currently dangling Jimmy Butler, Ainge would be foolish not to take a swipe at one of the best two-way guards in the league. But, what’s the cost? Here is where the Celtics have a huge advantage over many teams. They have an abundance of young talent and thanks to Billy King, they also own the Nets future players as well. A package that includes Crowder, Marcus Smart, and a pick should be enough to entice the Bulls. Imagine a lineup that includes Thomas, Bradley, Butler, Noel/Ibaka and Horford heading to Cleveland for an Eastern Conference Finals Game 7 clinching series win.
All in all, the Celtics will hold major cards when the time comes. It’s up to Ainge to pull the trigger and go for it all this season. Two straight seasons of first-round exits should be enough for him to realize that moves must be made. His first order of business is to inquire about Ibaka or Noel then shift his focus to Butler of the Bulls. While some may see these moves as impossible, they are far from that. The Celtics have the players and the draft picks at their disposal to acquire two top-level players this February, it’s just a matter of Ainge deciding if the second round or championship is the team’s main goal.