Brad Stevens wasn’t messing around once he got promoted to controlling the team’s roster. The former Boston Celtics head coach went to work early by trading Kemba Walker to the Oklahoma City Thunder and there is word around the league that he is not done making moves.
What we know for sure is that Jayson Tatum and Jaylon Brown are untouchable. It’s going to take some creativity for Stevens to find that third superstar to match with this tandem. As the Celtics try to find that third player, here are 10 perfect trade targets, with packages, that could be completed for the team this offseason.
Trade Package: Payton Pritchard, Romeo Langford, 2021 Second-Round Pick, 2022 First-Round Pick
The Celtics could use an upgrade at point guard. The Cavaliers have a tough decision to make with their cap flexibility. With looming extensions for Jarrett Allen this year and Sexton next year, the team will need to figure out if they want to keep Sexton around.
Darius Garland has proved to be a solid player and the Cavaliers could keep Garland and move Sexton for some capital moving forward. Sexton has one more year left on his rookie contract, so wherever he lands, he will ask for an extension. The Cavaliers could continue their rebuild with a draft pick and a couple of guards because Sexton will not be a part of the winning Cavaliers teams in the future.
Trade Package: Marcus Smart, Evan Fournier (sign-and-trade), 2022 First-Round Pick
This would be a simple trade for Boston to fill their need at point guard. The Pacers could upgrade their position at small forward and receive a serviceable point guard in return. Fournier is due a contract extension and the Celtics could look to complete a sign-and-trade with the hopes that Fournier provides an upgrade over Justin Holiday.
As for Smart, he could fill the point guard position with TJ McConnell being the backup. The Celtics would have a player that recently completed a 50-40-90 season in his first year with the Pacers.
Trade Package: Marcus Smart, Robert Williams III, 2022 First-Round Pick, 2024 First-Round Pick
The Pacers could flip the script and trade Sabonis instead. When Turner wasn’t in the game, Sabonis played better. He was nearly a triple-double machine. By pairing Sabonis with Tatum and Brown, the Celtics would have something nearly replicant of the Denver Nuggets offense.
This wouldn’t come cheap. The Pacers would maximize the value by receiving Smart and Williams. Given that Sabonis costs just $20 million, he would require at least two first-round picks, if not more. Either way, the Celtics would have a complete team if this trade was completed.
Trade Package: Marcus Smart, Carsen Edwards, Robert Williams III, 2022 First-Round Pick
The Spurs have to know that DeRozan is not going to remain with the team moving forward. He is 31 years old and the Spurs are not a championship team. The Spurs are great at maximizing value at all fronts, so it would make sense to complete a sign-and-trade with a team.
The Celtics can offer a veteran point guard to backup Dejounte Murray, a promising player in Edwards, a center to backup Jakob Poelti, and a draft pick. DeRozan would provide a perfect fit for the Celtics alongside Tatum and Brown.
Trade Package: Marcus Smart, Robert Williams III, 2022 First-Round Pick, 2023 First-Round Pick
Last year, it was reported that the Pacers offered Myles Turner and a first-round pick in exchange for Gordon Hayward. The Celtics should have pulled the trigger but hindsight is 20-20. Turner would have been the perfect defensive player for the Celtics after he averaged 3.4 blocks in 47 games last year.
The Pacers have pieces on the roster, but not all the parts are working in motion. The combination of Turner and Domantas Sabonis hasn’t always worked. The Pacers could bring a veteran to backup Malcolm Brogdon and go younger at the position with Robert Williams III.
Trade Package: Marcus Smart, Robert Williams III, Aaron Nesmith, Tristan Thompson, 2022 First-Round Pick, 2024 First-Round Pick
This move would be interesting because it would force Jaylon Brown to become the team’s shooting guard. It would also cost the Celtics quite a hefty price for the combined salary and talent that Siakam brings to the team.
The Raptors have a tough decision to make between contention and rebuilding. The first step will be seeing what happens with Kyle Lowry. After that, the Raptors could receive a couple of future salary dumps in Thompson and Smart, a young center with potential in Williams, as well as two first-round picks.
Trade Package: Marcus Smart, Evan Fournier (sign-and-trade), Aaron Nesmith, Romeo Langford, 2022 First-Round Pick, 2023 First-Round Pick
After failing in the first round so many times, the Trail Blazers have to start wondering when it is enough. McCollum would be a perfect fit for the Celtics for a variety of reasons, but with McCollum’s salary, it would be tricky.
The Celtics could try and convince the Trail Blazers to complete a sign-and-trade with Fournier, who is another 20-point scoring threat. This would allow Norman Powell to go back to coming off the bench. Smart could be the perfect leader of the second unit when Damian Lillard goes to the bench. To top it off, the Celtics would entice the team with a few first-round picks.
Trade Package: Marcus Smart, Evan Fournier (sign-and-trade), Romeo Langford, Robert Williams III
The Celtics have been linked to Porzingis dating back to his days with the New York Knicks. It would require a sign-and-trade with Evan Fournier due to the high salary that Porzingis is owed. The Mavericks would finally get the contract of Porzingis off the books and get a talented scorer in Fournier, who has potential as being a Sixth Man of the Year if the Mavericks used him in that role.
In addition, the Mavericks would be able to let Jalen Brunson walk in favor of a veteran point guard in Smart. Williams has potential as a starting center and started at times in Boston. As for the Celtics, Porzingis would give the team the third superstar desperately needs. Porzingis would gel with this team much better without the ball-dominate Luka Doncic on the floor.
Trade Package: Marcus Smart, Al Horford, Aaron Nesmith, Romeo Langford, 2022 First-Round Pick
The Celtics traded for Al Horford with the Thunder, but at this stage of his career, Horford is no longer a starter. Horford would be a solid backup to Daniel Gafford moving forward. At the cost of Horford’s contract ($27 million), the Celtics would need to include at least one first-round draft pick. If the Wizards wanted to roll the dice with Bradley Beal for one more year, Smart could man the point guard position.
For Boston, this would be a lethal triple-threat option with Westbrook, Tatum, and Brown. Westbrook wouldn’t have to be the No. 1 option. He could play to his strengths of rebounding and assisting. At this point in his career, Westbrook could do the “little things” and allow others to lead the team towards a championship.
Trade Package: Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Aaron Nesmith, 2022 First-Round Pick, 2023 First-Round Pick, 2022 Second Round Pick (from Charlotte)
Even with a new head coach in Chauncey Billups, there is no confirmation that Lillard is going to stay in Portland. The Celtics would be a real threat to the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks with Lillard pairing up with Tatum and Brown. The only way that the Trail Blazers will complete this trade is if the Celtics throw in Jaylen Brown. Smart would be able to start at point guard, while McCollum and Brown could be used as the primary scorers on the team. For salary purposes, Nesmith would need to be included in the deal as well.
Lillard and Tatum have a feel of Steph Curry and Kevin Durant. This duo could likely pick apart the Eastern Conference and contend with the likes of Brooklyn and Milwaukee. It would also give Lillard a legitimate chance of making the NBA Finals, while Portland could remain competitive in the first few years of the Chauncey Billups era.