After the buzz on 4th of July weekend, the Celtics still appear to be in the works for a big move. There are a lot of trade rumors out there which include DeMarcus Cousins, Blake Griffin, and Russell Westbrook. The Celtics improved their team on July 2nd by signing Al Horford to a four-year deal. Horford is a good fit for the Celtics as he’s a well rounder player who can bring a lot to the team on both ends of the court. Horford immediately makes the Celtics a top three team in the East on paper. With that said, the Celtics still have the opportunity to rise to the top of the East considering they have something that no other contending team has…a legitimate shot at the #1 pick in the next two NBA drafts. Given that the Celtics own the Brooklyn Nets pick in the next two drafts, they have the ability to make a splash. We’ll take a look at the three biggest options in today’s post!
1. DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins would fill the Celtics biggest area of need at the center position. There aren’t many elite centers in the NBA anymore, but Cousins certainly falls into that category. He’s the best center in the league. For all of the negativity around his approach and attitude, something has to be said for playing for a team that has been on the losing end for every year of his NBA career. The Kings have done nothing to build around Cousins. Having said that, you’re not going to find another big man who puts up 26.9 points and 11.5 rebounds as Cousins did last year. At age 25, Cousins still has room for improvement as well. The thought here is that Cousins would fit in nicely on a team that would be an immediate contender in the East. Makes sense, right? Well, the problem is that the Celtics would have to give up more for Cousins than they would for the other player that they’re going after. Would the Celtics be willing to give up multiple core players such as Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, or Jae Crowder and Brooklyn picks for Cousins? Probably not.
2. Blake Griffin. Griffin is a five time All Star who, at age 27, is beginning the prime of his career. Last season, he averaged 21.4 points and 8.4 rebounds a game. Griffin is a top five power forward in the league and would bring a lot of energy to a team that feeds of energy especially at home. Here’s the problem though. He plays the same position as Al Horford. Granted, these two players have a different skill set, but they also have somewhat similar mid-range games on the offensive end. Griffin is a highlights guy. Is a good fit for this team? That’s the question the Celtics are going to have to answer if they’re going to move multiple assets for Griffin.
3. Russell Westbrook. In terms of skill set, this is the guy. By most accounts, Westbrook is a top five player in the NBA. Last season, he almost averaged a triple double. 23.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 10.4 assists per game…WOW! He’s probably the most dynamic player in the league. He’s 27 years old. Oklahoma City will likely be shopping him after Kevin Durant realized that he couldn’t lead a team to the NBA Championship and jumped on the Golden State Warriors bandwagon. Oh yeah, that’s the new NBA which is a story for a different day.
The Celtics already have an All Star point guard in Isaiah Thomas. You know what? Who cares?! You don’t build a team around Isaiah Thomas. You build a team around Russell Westbrook. These two players could play together and Isaiah could be an elite 6th man. The real problem here? Westbrook is only signed for one season. He doesn’t appear to be willing to sign an extension. The question here is Danny Ainge willing to roll the dice to get a player for one year who may walk next summer? It’s a big gamble.
Where does this leave us? Here are our thoughts on the order in terms of what makes the most sense for the Celtics.
Adding any of these three players would put the Celtics in the top two in the East with a chance of dethroning Cleveland.
We’ll see what Dealer Danny has up his sleeve this summer!