It’s no secret the Celtics are in need of a point guard. After trading away Kemba Walker, Boston doesn’t have many options at the PG position. Marcus Smart is the assumed starter, but after him there are just a bunch of mediocre young guys. New President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens seems to be aware of this weakness with a new report coming out on Thursday.
Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported that Boston is expected to show interest in New Orleans’ point guard Lonzo Ball. The Celtics are one of three teams Charania listed, including the Bulls and the Raptors.
The Pelicans recently traded away one of their point guards in Eric Bledsoe. The move, which included other players, freed up some cap space for New Orleans. That could mean two things. One, because Ball is a restricted free agent and the Pelicans can match any offer he gets, they would be willing to pay more now that they have more, which could drive up Ball’s price out of the Celtics’ range. Two, New Orleans wants to free a lot of cap space to be able to reach for even large free agents to pair with Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.
Whichever theory is true, Charania is predicting Ball’s price tag to be around $20-22 million. The Celtics don’t have that kind of money right now. They still need to figure out Evan Fournier’s deal and a sign-and-trade would put them in a very difficult situation. Although the Celtics are interested in Ball, it’s difficult to see a way he makes it to Boston from a financial standpoint. Unless, of course, the Pelicans want him off their books and there isn’t a bidding war, which is less than likely.
Ball is coming off his fourth season in the league, where he improved greatly from a scoring perspective. The guard tallied 14.6 points, 5.7 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game. One of Ball’s biggest knocks when he first got to the NBA was his shooting, but last season he averaged the most threes per game in his career and shot them at 38%, which was the best mark of his career.
Ball would fit very well with the Celtics. He can distribute to Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. He can shoot from the outside, better than Marcus Smart too. Plus, he is a great defender, which is something this team is lacking.
Ball is a great target for the Celtics and could easily help them make a deeper run in the playoffs. However, the finances just don’t make sense now or in the future. Boston shouldn’t put itself in a sticky financial situation heading into next year’s free agency because there will be more talent and the team will have much more freedom.