The Boston Celtics have been proactive when it comes to building the composition of their team. From stacking draft picks to securing meetings with marquee free agents, to being a part of almost every trade rumor, Boston is ready to make a move. They have the assets necessary that other teams would surely love to receive in return as well as the win now motivation that comes with being an eastern conference contender as well as a historically competitive franchise.
The team has almost everything you would want in a franchise: a great front office, all-star caliber players surrounded by strong depth, and a coach that is seemingly always one step ahead. Except they lack one thing in the minds of many... that missing piece of the puzzle. Whether it be an elite two-way wing or a big man capable of being an anchor down low, they feel they are one or two pieces away from being a polished, if not finished, product.
3. Nikola Vucevic
Vucevic has long been a rumored target for Boston. His size and versatility has attracted Ainge for the past couple seasons. Orlando and Boston have had numerous talks involving the six-year center out of Switzerland, those talks gained little traction however. The fit makes sense for the Celtics, as they have needed a true anchor down low for awhile now. Horford is a premier big man in the NBA, but he doesn’t offer the same invaluable size and rim protection as Vucevic. With career averages of 14.8 PPG and 9.8 rebounds, the Celtics would finally have perhaps the missing piece that they need to truly have an opportunity to knock the Cavaliers off of their throne in the Eastern Conference.
2. Paul George
PG13 is a bonafide superstar in the NBA. After starting his career in Danny Granger’s shadow, he has become an absolute force on both ends of the floor, capable of leading a team in scoring and locking down the opponent’s best perimeter player. The Indiana Pacers are not as sound as Larry Bird and the front office had hoped coming into the season, and for that reason, they may look to rebuild. If that is indeed the case, Danny Ainge needs to be the first one in Bird’s ear. With seemingly unlimited assets from top protected picks to uber productive role players, the Celtics have the ammo necessary to return a favorable Paul for the ultra-talented forward.
He would give Boston the scoring wing it is currently missing along with giving Isaiah Thomas; a partner in crime to lessen the load that the 5’9 Point Guard currently has. If Indiana indeed is looking to move on from George, they have to look Boston’s way has they likely offer the greatest return available.
1. Jimmy Butler
The Chicago Bulls are, to say it politely, an absolute mess. From the front office to the construction of the roster, to the chemistry of the locker room the team is in shambles in nearly every aspect. Rumors annually surface whether it be the trade deadline or the NBA draft, about Butler’s potential departure from the Windy City. Butler is available at the right price as evidenced by Chicago’s willingness to deal him around the 2016 NBA draft. Teams like Boston and Minnesota specifically both placed bids that were ultimately determined to be too low. The Celtics and Timberwolves unwillingness to include certain assets were the only things that prevented Butler from wearing a different jersey this season.
It is not too late for Boston on this front, however. With two more top protected picks from the Brooklyn Nets in both the 2017 and 2018 NBA drafts, they have enticing assets that Gar Forman would be very interested in acquiring. Seeing as Chicago is on the brink of a full-on rebuild, as well as Boston preparing itself for lengthy playoff runs for years to come, both parties have something the other needs.
Chicago can get an immense start to their rebuilding efforts, and Boston can get that missing superstar it has long coveted. Butler would come into a win-now-situation that also includes young talent, and not have to carry the bulk of the responsibility on his shoulders with two other all-star caliber players in Horford and Thomas along with a budding head coach and players that know their role. The most ideal situation for the Celtics would be for Jimmy Buckets to come to Beantown!