The Boston Celtics have two stars in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, and a great young head coach in Brad Stevens. But that simply will not be enough in a competitive Eastern Conference that features dominant teams such as the Nets, 76ers, and Bucks.
The Nets have 3 MVP caliber players, the Sixers have the leading candidate for the MVP Award, and the Bucks have a 2-time MVP in Giannis Antentokounmpo. In a nutshell, the Celtics need more talent. Luckily, they have a ton of attractive trade pieces. The likes of Romeo Langford, Aaron Nesmith, Robert Williams, Payton Pritchard, and future first-round and second-round picks to offer. These are valuable young players and draft considerations that could also be accompanied by Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart for the top available talent.
Here are the 10 best targets for the Boston Celtics before the trade deadline.
10. Harrison Barnes
Season Statistics: 16.6 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 3.5 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.2 BPG
The Sacramento Kings are fortunate to have DeAaron Fox on the squad because he is a rare point guard with exceptional passing ability, but beyond him, no one else is untouchable. Harrison Barnes is a very capable wing player who can defend and shoot, completing a strong trio that can help Boston get closer to the likes of the Nets and Bucks who just added P.J. Tucker.
Barnes is one of the better 3-and-D players in the NBA and he also has the size to bang down low as well. A versatile defender with championship experience, Barnes is exactly the player Boston needs to help get them to the Eastern Conference Finals.
9. Kevin Love
Season Statistics: 5.8 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.3 SPG, 0.0 BPG
The Boston Celtics have Jayson Tatum playing at the forward spot next to Trista Thompson. But Kevin Love is a much bigger forward than Tatum thanks to his girth, and he gives more paint resistance when paired next to Thompson. Pairing the likes of Tatum and Jaylen Brown with a sharpshooter like Kevin Love means Boston is a much stronger contender in the East.
With two All-Stars in Brown and Tatum, the Celtics are a consistent team and they deserve credit for that, but Kevin Love could take them to the next level. Love is having a down year but a change of scenery could bring out the best of the former NBA champion.
8. John Collins
Season Statistics: 18.0 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 1.4 APG, 0.5 SPG, 1.1 BPG
The Atlanta Hawks are one of the up-and-coming teams in the East with a ton of depth around franchise star Trae Young. That means they can afford to part ways with future star John Collins, who is needed more in Boston than Atlanta right now. Collins fits into Brad Stevens’ system because he plays hard and is very good on offense. A lineup with John Collins is very formidable and could make Boston a top-3 team in the East.
Collins will see his minutes eaten up by defensive star Clint Capela in Atlanta, so he should try his shot with the Celtics. Collins can clean up the boards, play hard on defense, and has a nice touch down low. This move makes a ton of sense for both parties.
7. Myles Turner
Season Statistics: 13.1 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.9 SPG, 3.4 BPG
The Boston Celtics signed Tristan Thompson in free agency which was a great pickup, but he is a limited offensive player. These are qualities that simply do not fit Myles Turner. Turner can space the floor and also score inside, making him an excellent option for Boston to have a dynamic duo at the center position to complete Boston's excellent rotation.
Turner is also one of the best shot blockers in the NBA over the past few years, as he has the size and strength to be a formidable player on both ends of the floor. Boston need better bigs and Turner immediately solves that problem.
6. LaMarcus Aldridge
Season Statistics: 13.7 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.7 APG, 0.4 SPG, 0.9 BPG
The Boston Celtics have a solid base intact with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown on the roster. However, they need more pieces. They missed out on a chance to trade for Anthony Davis two years ago and now have a chance to lessen the gap with a scorer like LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge isn't the All-NBA performer he was with Portland, but he is still a capable scorer in stretches.
Aldridge can still drop 18-20 points on some nights and his threat as a scorer makes Boston tougher to defend. Tatum and Brown can't be the only star offensive players on the team, so Aldridge can come in and relieve pressure off of them instantly.
5. Kristaps Porzingis
Season Statistics: 20.0 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 1.2 APG, 0.4 SPG, 1.6 BPG
The Dallas Mavericks have Luka Doncic on the roster, so that means they are all-in on winning now. The Mavericks cannot accept being a middle-of-the-pack team and if that means moving on from Porzingis, that is what they must do. A return centered around Kemba Walker could relieve Doncic from ball-handling duties and add some scoring help.
The Celtics need a big man, and the Mavericks have one. A Big Three of Tatum, Brown, and Porzingis makes Boston a better team than the Bucks and has them inching closer to the 76ers. If Mark Cuban is going to ship out Porzingis, it will be to the Eastern Conference to a team like the Celtics.
4. Andre Drummond
Season Statistics: 17.5 PPG, 13.5 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.6 SPG, 1.2 BPG
The Boston Celtics should do everything possible to add talent around stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Andre Drummond isn't a star player in today's NBA, but he's a dominant defensive player who would immediately make the Celtics a problem down low.
Boston can have a strong base to add shooters around Tatum and Brown because Drummond can get a cheaper contract in the coming seasons due to his lack of interest in the league. The fact that Drummond is available in trade talks means the Celtics should immediately go for the former All-Star.
3. Jerami Grant
Season Statistics: 23.2 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 2.8 APG, 0.7 SPG, 1.1 BPG
Jerami Grant has blossomed into an All-Star caliber player and has greatly improved his offensive game this season. While Grant is not a big man, he is very capable of playing power forward and bringing a different type of versatility to Boston. Grant can defend 4 positions, score in isolation or off-the-ball, and plays hard every night.
A lineup with Tatum, Brown, and Grant with Tristan Thompson inside would be very difficult to score on or even defend against. This deal gives the Celtics another scorer who could average 20 PPG and another lockdown defender. Boston should go for Grant as soon as they can by striking a deal with the rebuilding Pistons.
2. Nikola Vucevic
Season Statistics: 24.7 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.6 BPG
In terms of the best available big men in the NBA, Nikola Vucevic is the cream of the crop. He can score from anywhere, brings great size in the paint, and has proven he is playoff material. For the Celtics, this means he is a must-get. Vucevic is having another strong season and considering how Orlando does not threaten anyone in the East, he could be available.
Vucevic is going to require a huge trade package from Boston, but considering how they have missed out on some top stars over the past few years, they might actually get this done by giving Orlando whatever they want outside of Tatum and Brown.
1. Karl-Anthony Towns
Season Statistics: 23.1 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 4.2 APG, 0.8 SPG, 1.6 BPG
As great as Vucevic is, Towns gives Boston the most sustainable Big Three over the next decade. Towns is only 25 years of age and is a player capable of being a franchise player for the Celtics. Towns is having yet another double-double season and has no weakness with regards to his all-around game.
Towns is the big man that can take Boston to the next level because he will not hinder the offense thanks to his skill set while also adding to their defense. A Big Three of Tatum, Brown, and Towns most likely places Boston in the Eastern Conference Finals and creates a title contender for the next 7-8 years at a minimum.