The Boston Celtics were a good team in the 2019-2020 season, reaching the Eastern Conference Finals before losing to the Miami Heat. On paper, they have a stacked squad for the upcoming season: they have two budding stars in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, an electric point guard in Kemba Walker, and a defensive powerhouse in Marcus Smart. They had all the tools to succeed and fell slightly short, losing in the Conference Finals to the Heat.
The Celtics need a superstar. It could be someone who is a superstar right now or someone who has the potential to develop into a superstar. The Boston Celtics could stack the deck in their favor and build another superteam. They have a big 3: but what if they could make an upgrade? Championships are won on the backs of superstars, and the Celtics could get one to pair with theirs in Jayson Tatum. These are some trades that the Celtics could pursue.
5. LaMarcus Aldridge
Boston Celtics Receive: LaMarcus Aldridge
San Antonio Spurs Receive: Marcus Smart, Romeo Langford, Daniel Theis
The San Antonio Spurs need to rebuild. They will most likely welcome young players who can develop with Dejounte Murray, and allow their veterans to go compete. The Spurs organization is one of the best, so they will make trades for their future. One of the first people to get traded will be LaMarcus Aldridge. The Spurs could trade him to the Celtics as a valuable big man who allows them to be able to play some small-ball, similar to when they had Al Horford at the 5.
The Celtics would get Marcus Smart who is an amazing guard who one day could win DPOY. The Spurs could also help Smart develop his wild offensive game even further, using him as a source of controlled chaos on both ends of the court. Romeo Langford hasn’t done much in the NBA, but he was once a heralded prospect that the Spurs could take a chance on. Theis would do out to give the Spurs a usable center. LaMarcus Aldridge is worth the risk for a limited role while being a one-year rental.
4. Rudy Gobert
Boston Celtics Receive: Rudy Gobert
Utah Jazz Receive: Marcus Smart, Romeo Langford, Daniel Theis, Grant Williams
Rudy Gobert’s contract extension is coming up; that of course means max money, as he is an All-Star and a DPOY. Rudy Gobert may command the max in the current market, but there are certainly other players who would traditionally deserve max contracts. Rudy Gobert is a defensive genius, but his impact on offense can lead to him being played off the floor. Due to his flaws, the Jazz could elect to trade him to a team to garner assets, while letting him go to a contending team that he can excel on.
The Celtics would cover up some of Gobert’s offensive flaws due to their overall talent. One person who can’t shoot doesn’t matter as much when the entire rest of your team can shoot. Gobert would anchor the interior defense and make up for Kemba Walker’s size and mediocre perimeter defense. The Jazz would get an impactful perimeter defender in Marcus Smart, while also being able to add other talent and depth to develop alongside Donovan Mitchell. Williams and Langford could be something in the future, so they’re not a bad return in a trade.
3. Russell Westbrook
Boston Celtics Receive: Russell Westbrook
Houston Rockets Receive: Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, a future first-round pick
Danny Ainge once chanced on a superstar point guard: Kyrie Irving. While Irving left shortly into his Celtics tenure, the precedent of Danny Ainge flipping assets into a superstar is there. That could be Russell Westbrook. Despite a disastrous postseason, Westbrook is still an exciting player who can score and assist to his teammates. The Celtics may take a chance on Westbrook, hoping that he gives them the jolt needed to make it to the top.
The Rockets most likely want a good young player and some assets for Westbrook. This package gives them Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart; two valuable players on the defensive end. Brown was a 20.3 PPG scorer, but he lacks playmaking abilities and is mostly just a two-way wing. Westbrook next to Walker would give the Celtics a great backcourt and elite perimeter creation.
2. Brandon Ingram
Boston Celtics Receive: Brandon Ingram (sign and trade)
New Orleans Pelicans Receive: Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart
The New Orleans Pelicans are unlikely to let Brandon Ingram go this offseason. However, perhaps they could be persuaded to. Zion Williamson is the main attraction in New Orleans, and having another young star who likes to dominate the ball and lead the scoring may become a little much. The Pelicans wouldn’t let him go for free while he’s a restricted free agent, as Ingram is a great all-around SF. As such, a sign and trade could be negotiated with the Celtics.
With the Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart package, the Pelicans would get two players who could bring out the best in Zion Williamson. Smart is an amazing defender who is an okay floor spacer. Brown is a star who is used to playing behind other ball handlers. It could be a good trade for the Celtics if they think that Brandon Ingram is an elite SF, and it could be a great move for Zion Williamson’s development as well.
1. Paul George
Boston Celtics Receive: Paul George
Los Angeles Clippers Receive: Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, a future first-round pick, a future second-round pick
Paul George leaving the Clippers for another team? A season ago, people would have said there was no chance of that happening. Even now, there’s not a giant chance of it happening. But the option for the Clippers to pull the plug seems better after the last playoffs. Perhaps they think that George is getting old and that he needs to be traded before he falls off, or before his injury history catches up with him.
The Smart and Brown package could complement Kawhi Leonard very well. They are both players who can fill a role, and rise in the clutch. Smart may be a streaky shooter, but he hits them when they count. Brown is comfortable scoring in the fringes but still gets 20 PPG in his sleep. He is comfortable playing a role, but also being the star sometimes. Being next to Kawhi Leonard could help Brown develop into a player similar to George. The Celtics in turn would take a chance on George, who was an MVP candidate not too long ago. High-risk trade for both sides, but who knows? In the NBA trade world, anything can happen.