Rockets ‘Should Be Ready to Strike’ Trade with Celtics, Says Analyst

Celtics' Aaron Nesmith and Juancho Hernangomez named trade deadline targets

Getty Celtics wing Aaron Nesmith.

Thankfully the trade chatter surrounding Jaylen Brown has rightfully died down of late. With that said, that doesn’t mean the Boston Celtics will stay put when trade season starts heating up on December 15th — the first day a major chunk of players who signed new contracts as free agents during the 2021-22 league year are eligible to be dealt (h/t Hoops Rumors).

19 games into the season and still hovering around a .500-record, there is tinkering to be done should Brad Stevens feel inclined to shake up his current roster — whether by bringing in talent or sending pieces out.

Two players in particular who could be punching their tickets out of Boston are Juancho Hernangomez and Aaron Nesmith, who according to Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley could be hot commodities on the trade market.

Nesmith Listed Atop Magic & Rockets ‘Deadline Targets’

As per usual since arriving in Boston, Nesmith has made a few bids for added minutes this season but has ultimately been too sporadic to be fully entrusted. His production is down across the board when compared to his rookie campaign and he’s shooting a horrendous 20.0% from beyond the arc.

There’s still upside there that the Celtics may feel inclined to tap into. However, washing their hands of Nesmith in exchange for a more “established” piece could pique Boston’s interest.

“The Magic still need to put more up-and-comers in the pipeline, and they should sniff out available draft picks and cheap prospects who could join this core,” noted Buckley. “This would be awfully early for Boston to bail on Aaron Nesmith, but if the Celtics start climbing the ladder, they might seek a more established spacer (cough, Terrence Ross) instead.”

Another young roster that the 22-year-old Nesmith could potentially slide into is in Houston with a rebuilding Rockets team.

“The right kind of purchase could intrigue Houston’s front office, though. Young players who fit the timeline and play style of Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. might be worth an investment,” Buckley pointed out. “If [Magic’s] Mo Bamba is available at a discount because of his upcoming restricted free agency or the Celtics start panicking about Aaron Nesmith, the Rockets should be ready to strike.”

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Nets Suitors for Hernangomez?

Hernangomez, 26, was acquired this offseason from the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Kris Dunn and Carsen Edwards. The hope was that the Spanish big man could add some much-welcomed shooting to the C’s frontcourt. Understandable, considering at his peak in 2019, he knocked down 42.0% of his 3-point attempts. Yet, despite some early preseason hype, Hernangomez has become an afterthought in Ime Udoka’s rotation, logging a total of just 39 minutes on the season.

It’s become fairly evident Boston sees little use for a man of Hernangomez’s talents. However, according to Buckey, the Brooklyn Nets could be a different story.

“Brooklyn’s surprisingly sluggish start on offense speaks to a number of issues — insert snarky Kyrie Irving take here — but bigs not named LaMarcus Aldridge have struggled providing any kind of scoring punch,” wrote Buckey. “Is the situation dire enough to make Juancho Hernangomez and [Thunder’s] Mike Muscala at all appealing? Yes, yes it is. Hernangomez can help when his three-balls are falling, and Muscala has long offered an intriguing size-spacing combo.”

Brooklyn just topped the Cs by 19-points in a November 24th victory. Aldridge finished fourth on the Nets with 17 points that night and has averaged an impressive 13.6 points per game in his return to action this season. However, the veteran duo of Blake Griffin and Paul Milsap has been far less productive, averaging a combined 8.4 points per contest.


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