By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Listen, the Celtics need Mo Bamba. I didn’t know that they needed Mo Bamba before yesterday (I hardly knew about his absurd wingspan before yesterday), but they need Mo Bamba. And I’m saying this for purely selfish reasons. Why wouldn’t I want the ability to tweet #ThanksALotMoBamba or say, “Ladies and gentleman, this is Mo Bamba No. 5” like Lou Bega?
But to get Bamba, or any player considered to be the cream of the crop of this year’s draft class, the Celtics are going to need to pull off something big. I think we’re all at the point where you almost expect Celtics president Danny Ainge to do just that, too, but you would almost have to assume that the rest of the National Basketball Association is hip to Ainge’s game by now. Four of Bryan Colangelo’s six burner accounts have probably sworn off dealing with Ainge ever again after what he did to the Sixers to draft Jayson Tatum, while the other two are still too busy cursing out a failed Jahlil Okafor trade to have noticed.
So, the question if you’re Ainge: What kind of package would you build to
trick, dupe, sucker, facilitate a trade with a team?
Here are some of the options Ainge can dangle out there in late June…
Terry Rozier III
This seems to be the most common name that’s been thrown out in a hypothetical trade-up on the part of the Celtics. It’s not hard to see why, too. No matter what Rozier accomplishes as a Celtic, he’ll always be stuck behind Kyrie Irving in Boston.
Rozier, for what it’s worth, seems OK with this aspect of his current role in town, acknowledging that Kyrie absolutely is and will continue be the team’s starter when he returns at full health next season. And if restricted free agent Marcus Smart returns to the Celtics, that means that Rozier will effectively become the No. 3 option on the C’s point guard depth chart.
The Celtics would also be moving Rozier at peak value, you’d think, after an impressive postseason run featuring a team-leading 36.6 minutes, assists (5.7), and threes dropped per game (2.7) per game. Rozier also ranked third among C’s in points (16.5), fourth in rebounds (5.3), and second in steals (1.3) per game during Boston’s 19-game postseason run.
But moving on from Rozier would also leave the Celtics without a Kyrie Lite kind of replacement should his knee injury return in some fashion next season, and would leave the Celtics without any sort of point guard behind Irving if Smart leaves as a free agent. Rozier is also on the hook for just over $3 million next season, and it would tough to find a legitimate replacement for his production at that price (just look at the scrapheap the C’s blazed their way through late in the year once Irving was done).
Something to also consider in the background here: The 6-foot-3 Irving has a player option that could allow him to become a free agent in 2019. While he hasn’t said or even done anything that would you make think that he wants to leave Boston, having some sort of protection in the event that he does leave would be in the C’s best interest, you would think.
I honestly do not care who is at the top of this draft board, there’s no deal that should see Jaylen Brown moved. In just his second NBA season, Brown proved to be a total battler capable of being both a volume scorer and defensive agitator when needed. Having both Brown and Jayson Tatum on the same development wave is the kind of stuff most teams would kill for, and especially in today’s shifting NBA, having two wings with versatile games is something that could keep the Celtics more than competitive beyond this current Irving-Gordon Hayward-Al Horford window.
Given the emergence of Brown and Tatum, and with Gordon Hayward due back at 100 percent next season, the 28-year-old Morris is reportedly ‘wary’ of his role on the 2018-19 Celtics. That makes sense. Morris admittedly wasn’t a gigantic fan of coming off the bench this past season (he started every game of his two-year tenure with the Pistons before coming to Boston), and it’s hard to imagine that he would handle being No. 8 or No. 9 on the depth chart all that well. If traded, Morris could easily become a worthwhile asset that a basement-dweller could flip later in the summer or at the deadline.
If Smart is truly a goner in Boston, which Ainge hinted may be the case with his ‘nobody is irreplaceable’ commentary on Toucher and Rich on Thursday, it would make perfect sense for the Celtics to see if they could swing some sort of sign-and-trade to recoup some value lost with parting with a four-year pro that was the sixth overall pick in 2014.
2018 Boston Celtics first-round pick (27th overall)
This is an automatic. If the Celtics want to move up in this year’s first round, they’ll have to move their first-round pick.
2019 Sacramento Kings first-round pick
With the Laker pick obtained in the Celtics-Sixers trade last year, the Celtics will get their choice of Philadelphia’s Top-1 protected pick or Sacramento’s Top-1 protected pick next season. The Kings are garbage, and will likely continue to be garbage, so that’s a gigantic asset if you’re the C’s or a team knowing that the Celtics are targeting a high-ranked player in this draft.
2019 Memphis Grizzlies first-round pick (if pick falls outside top eight)
Not sure that this condition is met and applicable next season, to be honest. This pick also has top six protection in 2020 and only becomes unprotected if it still hasn’t been conveyed by 2021. That’s a long game to play if you’re a team acquiring that pick. Then again, that’s one that the C’s have played with this pick, anyways.
2019 Boston Celtics first-round pick
Likely similar to this year’s first-round pick, this looks like a late-round pick for the team that owns it.
There’s more options, both as players and pics, of course. But with some options on the table, and with ideas of your own, what (if anything) are you willing to part with to have something to watch before No. 27 on June 21?
Ty Anderson is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Ty? Follow him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.