Jackson 5: Five potential deals for the Celtics

By Aaron Jackson,

News that the Los Angeles Clippers have dealt Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons for Avery Bradley and Tobias Harris has got me thinking as the NBA Trade Deadline approaches (February 8th). What, if anything, can the Boston Celtics do to improve their roster? Here are 5 deals that Danny Ainge could pursue.

  1. DeAndre Jordan and Kemba Walker to the Boston Celtics, Nicolas Batum, Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart to the Los Angeles Clippers, and Al Horford and Wesley Johnson to the Charlotte Hornets: As with all these deals, I put them through ESPN’s trade machine to see if they’d work financially, and to see what their statistical analysis would be. This would be quite the blockbuster, and would certainly signal that the time is now for Boston to win. They’d be acquiring two proven all stars, arguably two players in the primes of their careers, which, combined with Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, would give them 4 perennial all stars. Meanwhile the Clippers get a piece to build their future around, and the Hornets add a reliable star in Al Horford. I would say this deal isn’t ever going to happen, but no one thought Kyrie Irving being traded to Boston would ever happen either, so never say never.
  2. Kemba Walker for Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart: Ok, so that last one was a bit of a stretch, but maybe this is more to your liking? Again, Walker is a proven all star in the prime of his career. You’ve gotta give up something to get something. Jaylen Brown is nice, but I’m not quite sure he’ll ever be an all star caliber player. I still look at him more as a Jeff Green, a player that’s great to have as a fourth option, but at the end of the day he won’t be the reason you’re winning a title. And Smart has his flaws (as we all know), plus he’s likely gone at the end of the year. Walker is an elite scorer and could make a lethal one-two punch with Kyrie Irving. I’d want some sort of deal in place to keep Walker long term, but this is a deal you’d have to seriously consider if you’re Ainge.
  3. Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls for Geurschon Yabusele and a future first rounder: At 22 years old LaVine is already considered a veteran, and a very efficient scorer. He’s averaged double digits every year of his career, including 19 points a game last season for the Minnesota Timberwolves before suffering a season ending injury. He’s only played in 8 games because of that injury this season, and is on the last year of his rookie deal. Chicago is going nowhere this season, and could maybe look at a guy like Yabusele as a future part of their team. My guess is this deal would have to include the Celtics giving up a draft pick, but LaVine would be a really nice fit on the roster.
  4. Yabusele and Shane Larkin for Marco Bellinelli of the Atlanta Hawks: Bellinelli has been an incredibly consistent player over his years in the league, and at 31 he’s a well known commodity. He can shoot the ball, has made a career of coming in off the bench, and plays with a level head. The Hawks are a disaster right now, and could view Yabusele as a future asset. Bellinelli is a free agent after the season, so now’s the time to strike if you’re going to make a deal.
  5. Yabusele and Larkin plus a future Celtics first round pick for Tyreke Evans of the Memphis Grizzlies: At 28, Evans seems like he’s been around forever. When healthy he’s shown he can be an elite scorer, and this season is no different. He’s currently putting up 20 points a game for a team that’s going nowhere, and would probably love a change of scenery. He’d be a great spark off the bench, and could take some of the point guard load off Kyrie Irving as the season winds on. Any future Celtics top pick would likely be in the 26 plus range, so you’re really not giving up anything major. This could be a great solution for a team that finds itself in the drivers seat of the Eastern Conference. For what it’s worth the Trade Machine loves this deal, adding 10 wins to the Celtics total for the rest of the year.

Aaron Jackson (@AaronRJackson on Twitter) is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.