Searching for the Boston Celtics’ Missing Piece

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CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 10: Jimmy Butler of Chicago Bulls in action during the NBA match between Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls on December 10, 2016 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bilgin S. amaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Clearly, the Boston Celtics are missing a piece or two. For the majority of the season, Boston has been incredibly flawed when it comes to rebounding. Of the many problems throughout the season, rebounding has been the one constant. With the team currently third in the Eastern Conference, general manager Danny Ainge will likely be inquiring about some big men around the league. Passing the Toronto Raptors will be key for the playoffs, since that would give the Celtics homecourt if they were to meet up with the Raptors.

As we inch towards the trade deadline, we’re seeing an immense amount of trade rumors around the league. As usual, Boston seems to be right in the midst of the gossip, as we have been for the past eight months. It has become difficult to know what rumors are actually coming from a reliable source these days.

After looking deeper into the Celtics roster, I came up with a couple of targets that could help strengthen Boston’s front court. This will include a couple minor trades, as well as major trades and will be put in order of what makes the most sense for Boston.

Searching for the Boston Celtics’ Missing Piece

1) Andrew Bogut – Dallas Mavericks

A trade for Andrew Bogut makes sense for both sides. A disappointing Mavericks team is ready for full rebuild mode. Picks and young players are most valuable to them. As for the Celtics, they bring in a true center to start next to Al Horford – one who can rebound and defend. Bogut also adds to the offense with his passing ability. A trade for Bogut would likely involve a salary match and a pick.

Possible trade:

Boston receives: Andrew Bogut

Dallas receives: Tyler Zeller + two second-round picks

2) Kenneth Faried – Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets currently have a logjam in the frontcourt. Along with that, they have reportedly been shopping around to find the right trade for Kenneth Faried. The Celtics would gain a tremendous athlete and rebounder. Faried’s hustle and toughness would fit perfectly with their lineup. Since the Nuggets are looking to rebuild, a trade would most likely include young players and draft picks.

Possible trade:

Boston receives: Kenneth Faried

Denver receives: Tyler Zeller, Marcus Smart, and a 2019 first-round pick (via L.A. Clippers)

3) Nerlens Noel – Philadephia 76ers

In another congested frontcourt, Nerlens Noel seems to be the odd man out. Since Joel Embiid has returned from injury, it’s been widely assumed that it was only a matter of time until someone was traded. Boston already showed interest in Noel last off-season. Noel’s value right now might be as low as it will ever be. Obviously a team heavy on big men, the Sixers would want wing players and picks in return.

Possible trade:

Boston receives: Nerlens Noel

Philadelphia receives: James Young, Terry Rozier, and a 2019 first-round pick (via Memphis)

4) Willie Cauley-Stein + Omri Casspi – Sacramento Kings

Cauley-Stein is not exactly the center that the Celtics would prefer to get from the Kings, but he could help Boston. After playing 21 minutes per game last season, he’s down to just 11 MPG this season. The Celtics could likely bring him in for cheap and add to their depth.

Cauley-Stein isn’t a big-time rebounder, but he brings a lot of athleticism to a frontcourt that lacks much versatility (aside from Horford). If used correctly, he could be a solid role player off the bench.

The Kings are surrounded in lots of trade rumors involving their veteran players, including Casspi. Snagging Casspi in this trade could bolster Boston’s bench even more. He is a lights-out shooter, especially when he starts to heat up.

This trade would include some of Boston’s younger players and probably a future second-round pick.

Possible trade:

Boston Receives: Willie Cauley-Stein + Omri Casspi

Sacramento Receives: Jordan Mickey, James Young, and two second-round picks

5) Nikola Vucevic – Orlando Magic

Vucevic is part of yet another jam-packed frontcourt. After the Magic signed Bismack Biyombo in the off-season, Vucevic has seen drops in minutes played, shot attempts, and shooting percentages. Vucevic isn’t the most defensive-minded center, but he’s a solid rebounder and very polished offensively.

As a young, rebuilding team that lacks depth, Orlando would likely want to get a couple of young players in return.

Possible trade:

Boston receives: Nikola Vucevic

Orlando receives: Amir Johnson, James Young, and a 2019 first-round pick (via Memphis)

6) Jimmy Butler – Chicago Bulls

Rumors came out that Butler could possibly be available in a trade. Butler seems to get better every season, and his top tier defensive abilities would make the Celtics’ perimeter defense pretty scary.

The Bulls have a very guard-heavy team and it doesn’t really seem to be working for them. If they were to blow things up, the upcoming draft would be a great start for a rebuild, as it is loaded with guards.

Butler could come to Boston and become a ball-dominant first option, something that’s pretty hard to be alongside a backcourt featuring Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade. This would give Boston an amazing one-two punch in Butler and Isaiah Thomas, with a solid overall supporting cast.

Possible trade:

Boston receives: Jimmy Butler

Chicago receives: Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, Kelly Olynyk, 2017 first-round pick (via Brooklyn), and a 2019 first-round pick (via Memphis)

7) Carmelo Anthony – New York Knicks

Due to the current state of the roster, the Knicks’ front office would be smart to begin a rebuild around Kristaps Porzingis. Trading Carmelo Anthony makes sense for both sides.

The Knicks would receive young talent and some draft picks, while Boston would bring in a reliable scorer to compliment Thomas. Anthony has a hefty contract, but if the Celtics were able to do this and another minor trade, they would have a solid starting lineup.

Possible trade:

Boston receives: Carmelo Anthony

New York receives: Jae Crowder, Amir Johnson, and a 2019 first-round pick (via L.A. Clippers)

8) Boban Marjanovic – Detroit Pistons

Who wouldn’t want a 7’3”, 290-pound giant on their team? Marjanovic isn’t going to be the most productive guy on this list, but he can be effective if he’s used correctly. Marjanovic played just 10 minutes per game for the San Antonio Spurs last season, but he managed to put up 5.5 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. Just to put that into perspective, it’s 21.0 PPG and 13.7 RPG (including 5.2 offensive rebounds) per 36 minutes. He also shot 60.3 percent from the field last season.

Detroit hardly uses Marjanovic, so the Pistons shouldn’t have a hard time letting him go. This trade would likely just be a salary match.

Possible trade:

Boston Receives: Boban Marjanovic

Detroit Receives: Tyler Zeller


 

The odds of any of these trades happening are probably very slim. However, it’s still something to think about. If the Celtics want to make the Eastern Conference Finals, one of these trades could give them the edge over Toronto.

 

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