ESPN Insider has kicked off a new series examining trade targets for each of the 30 teams. They start with the Celtics and, well, prepare to be underwhelmed:
If and when the Kings decide to move on from the Cousins era, Boston is a logical destination. Cousins has long been connected to Boston in the rumor mill and would give the Celtics the centerpiece talent that could bring their roster into focus. The Celtics have a strong organizational culture with which to surround Cousins, if Ainge and head coach Brad Stevens want to accept the challenge.
The Celtics have the role players and wing defenders that could help balance the Kings’ roster. Meanwhile, Gay would give the Celtics a legit No. 2 scorer and the ability to play big on the wing or team Gay with Jae Crowder in a versatile frontcourt.
Whiteside will be a free agent, and if his financial ambitions are beyond Miami’s limits, Boston makes sense as a trade partner. He could shore up the Celtics’ defensive rebounding and rim protection deficiencies, keeping the defensive rating elite while giving Stevens the flexibility to play offensive players around him.
No surprise that Cousins is option #1. I’m still unsure about this guy. He’s vastly talented but temperamental. But with the Celtics mired in a losing streak, I’m starting to believe they should roll the dice on cornerstone talent.
I’d pass on Rudy Gay because (at 29) I feel like his best years are behind him. Am I crazy to think Avery Bradley, albeit he lacks Gay’s size, would equal Gay’s scoring if you gave him 16-17 shots per night?
Whiteside is a punk. Just ask Kelly Olynyk. Yes, he fills a giant void (shot blocking and rebounding) but scouts criticize his lack of team defense and passing. Something tells me he’ll be an even bigger prick once he gets paid.
Insider lists Smart, Olynyk and Thomas as the Celtics with the most trade value. And because his “versatility might have value on a team with such a need,” Evan Turner is the most likely to be traded.