The Boston Celtics are primed for a deep playoff run this year. With a deep squad including the likes of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kemba Walker, the team is stacked with top tier talent and excellent coaching.
The Celtics should feel confident that they can reach the Eastern Conference Finals this year. But still, they don't seem to be convincing enough to beat the top teams such as the Lakers, Clippers, and Bucks at the very least.
On the other hand, the Trail Blazers are hoping to sneak into the playoffs with their two-star guards leading the way in Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. They are clearly not on the level of the Boston Celtics and they should be looking to make some moves to either rebuild with fresh talent or re-tool.
Luckily, both teams can hit their goals by engaging in a blockbuster trade that works for both parties. By essentially swapping stars, both the Celtics and Blazers will be able to reach their goals in both the short term and long term. The following trade package also captures the salaries each player will earn from the 2020-2021 season.
Trade Package: Damian Lillard ($31,626,953) and CJ McCollum ($29,354,152) for Kemba Walker ($34,379,100), Jaylen Brown ($22,883,929), and three future picks
Why The Trail Blazers Must Rebuild
The idea is simple: they have the most expensive duo in the NBA.
Damian Lillard is set to make $250 million until 2025 and McCollum will make over $150 million until 2024. As Lavar Ball said, it will be very difficult to win with that much money tied up in two miniature guards. Even if they are talented, they do not have the defensive capabilities to impact the game at the level of guys like Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo, or LeBron James.
As a result, the Trail Blazers risk plateauing in the Playoffs. They might have some depth with Nurkic, Collins, and Whiteside but old school centers usually won't cut it in today's NBA.
Perhaps most importantly, they don't have the cap space to sign a third star to join their All-Star backcourt. If McCollum and Lillard had a guy like Jimmy Butler on the squad, a great two-way player who brings leadership qualities, this would be a different story. But they can't afford to get him with so much money tied up in two scoring guards, and the Celtics could solve their issues.
By trading away their two guards, they open up a ton of cap space and also get a great young player in Jaylen Brown to build around. Brown and the picks are a perfect rebuild combination, while Kemba Walker is a very talented player who won't let the Blazers fade into obscurity. At the very least, the Blazers can trade Kemba to another team and get some more picks to build on.
Why The Celtics Should Risk And Create A Superteam
The Celtics have a very good squad, but many doubt if it is good enough to compete with the best teams in the West. Tatum is their best player, but he is still young and needs help. The Lakers have LeBron and Anthony Davis, the Clippers have Kawhi and George, and even the Rockets have Westbrook and Harden. The Celtics have not found a second superstar-caliber player to match with Tatum.
The last time the Celtics won a title was in 2008, thanks to a superteam led by Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. The first title in 35 years for the Celtics came from a superteam, and they might have to repeat history and form one around Tatum.
A lineup with Lillard, McCollum, Smart, and Tatum would be the base for a very dominant team. They would be high scoring, quick on the break, and perfect for today's style of play which includes spacing and athleticism.
By signing some centers like DeMarcus Cousins, who have the body to defend and also score, they can be loaded in the East and all they had to sacrifice is two players and some picks out of their massive vault.