Despite the Boston Celtics maintaining their home playoff spot in the Eastern Conference standings, there is still room for improvement in Beantown. The main position of need: a useful big man who can provide offensive flexibility and defensive prowess.
One name that has been tossed around quite frequently is Washington Wizards center Davis Bertans. Signed for just $7 million, Bertans is under team control for another year and would not require a large deal of finagling for the Celtics.
The major obstacle Boston faces in making any deal this year is the tight amount of cap space it has this year along with the likelihood of going over that threshold next year. Bertans wouldn’t break the bank but it would require parting with a couple younger pieces.
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Option A: Romeo Langford & Vincent Poirier
This presents the best-case scenario for the Celtics in terms of striking a deal. Poirier would give the Wizards a big man to help replace Bertans as well as a relatively younger option to work with for the future.
It would also sacrifice Langford, a once-promising rookie and 14th overall pick in last summer’s draft. Langford hasn’t shown much promise as a rookie and though he may turn into a strong contributor in the future, it might not be in the way Boston is hoping.
Option B: Enes Kanter & Carsen Edwards
Perhaps overcompensating, Kanter would be a tough piece to include in the trade for Boston. But given his uncertainty with injury and his reserve role, it would allow Boston to get a bit more money off the books for a stronger return.
As for Edwards, he has turned into a G-League player specifically given his shooting woes in his rookie season. However, he did have a 41-point performance in G-League action Saturday. Shooting just 28 percent from three-point range at that level though, Edwards hasn’t matched the flare he showed in college and went from being a second-round steal to a rookie project.
Option C: Memphis Pick, Poirier, Edwards & Semi Ojeleye
This deal includes more pieces but for good reason. Along with Bertans, the Celtics could bring back veteran guard and fan-favorite Isaiah Thomas to Boston to help add depth at the point guard position.
Boston would have to sacrifice Semi Ojeleye, however, for someone like Thomas who has little defensive value. It would also mean getting rid of one of their first-round picks for next year in the form of the protected Memphis pick that has been so highly sought-after lately.
The pick is top-six protected this season, and with Memphis teetering on the brink of a playoff spot Boston is likely to cash in barring total collapse or some real lottery luck. But with Bertans under contract for next year along with Kanter, the Celtics wouldn’t need a top-15 pick for one of the many centers in this year’s draft. Having already struck out on Langford, Boston might be fine with forfeiting this pick in a trade.