Celtics Roster 2017-18: How Paul George, Gordon Hayward or Blake Griffin Fit

The Boston Celtics are apparently not interested in finishing second-best in the Eastern Conference behind LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers again in 2017-18. While rumors have been swirling about potential landing spots for Indiana Pacers star Paul George, the Boston Celtics are now right in the mix. Not only that but as The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports, Boston is also looking to add Gordon Hayward.

It’d be an unbelievable haul if the Celtics were able to land both George and Hayward this offseason and instantly makes them NBA championship contenders in 2017-18. But, as The Vertical’s Bobby Marks points out, getting both players would leave the Celtics pretty thin in multiple areas.

In the full article on Yahoo! Sports, Wojnarowski also points to the fact that if Hayward isn’t able to be acquired by the Celtics, that they could look to add Blake Griffin and then trade for George still. So, let’s take a look at a breakdown of how the Celtics roster could look in multiple different scenarios.

To note, in these scenarios we’ll focus on the starting lineup, as it’s tough to gauge what type of bench the Celtics could be left with if each deal was to happen.

Scenario 1: Celtics Stay With Current Roster

  1. C- Al Horford
  2. PF- Amir Johnson/Kelly Olynyk
  3. SF- Jae Crowder
  4. SG- Avery Bradley
  5. PG- Isaiah Thomas

Obviously, this probably isn’t the ideal situation, as the Celtics need to find a way to improve in order to contend with both the Cavaliers in the East and the many talented rosters such as the Golden State Warriors out West. This is the current roster, but expectations are that something will look different once the season actually rolls around.

Scenario 2: Celtics Trade for Paul George and Sign Gordon Hayward

  • C- Al Horford
  • PF- Paul George
  • SF- Gordon Hayward
  • SG- Marcus Smart
  • PG- Isaiah Thomas

This is how a best-case scenario would look for the Celtics. In this spot, they’d sign Hayward in free agency and have to trade away some mix of Jae Crowder, Jaylen Brown and Avery Bradley. Bradley’s set to be a free agent after this season and his cap hit is north of $8 million this season. Freeing up that money is probably a must for Boston in order to make this work. Smart’s cap hit is just over $4.5 million this year, according to Spotrac, making him the more affordable option for one season.

It’s also worth noting that George would be playing out of position more than likely, but the Celtics would simply be adjusting to playing more of a small-ball type offense here.

Scenario 3: Celtics Sign Blake Griffin and Trade for Paul George

  • C- Al Horford
  • PF- Blake Griffin
  • SF- Paul George
  • SG- Marcus Smart
  • PG- Isaiah Thomas

Sticking with Smart as the most likely starting shooting guard here, but the cost of what it would take to land George is the real question mark. It may wind up resulting in someone like Terry Rozier potentially starting, or may wind up being Bradley if for some reason the Pacers were interested in some mix of Crowder, Brown and Smart. Regardless, any of these deals, if it resulted in them landing George and Griffin looks like the best option on paper.

Obviously, each of these scenarios would come down to the money. At first glance, the fact that Thomas doesn’t make a monstrous amount of money yet is going to play into Boston’s favor. Of the three scenarios listed above, though, it’s hard not to like the idea of Griffin and George coming to town, as the Celtics would have a dominant front court and a backcourt that still strikes plenty of fear into opponents.