Danilo Gallinari is sidelined for the upcoming season, courtesy of an ACL injury the Boston Celtics latest addition suffered while on international duty with the Italian national team.
As such, both fans and media alike have begun to postulate as to who Brad Stevens could target as a potential replacement. Thus far, Carmelo Anthony and DeMarcus Cousins have been the two most prominent names linked with the Celtics, yet both of those are free agents, and neither is capable of giving you consistent big minutes should an injury occur.
According to Brian Robb, Boston should hit up old friend Danny Ainge, and begin to kick the tires on some of the Utah Jazz’s fringe talent in a bid to fill the void left by Gallinari. In his September 6 article, Robb postulates potentially adding impressive forward Lauri Markkanen via trade – but concedes that making the salaries work could be an issue.
“After an underwhelming start to his career in Cleveland following a four-year deal inked last season, he was part of the Donovan Mitchell blockbuster last week. Markkanen is a younger, better version of Gallinari at age 25 but his sizable contract makes him a far less appealing piece for Boston. The Celtics would need to give up a major piece (Derrick White?) in order to make the money work here and that’s not a likely path they would take,” Robb wrote.
Markkanen Impressed For Cleveland Last Season
After an impressive rookie year for the Chicago Bulls, Lauri Markkanen struggled to reproduce the form that saw him labeled as one of the most impressive young talents in the NBA.
Yet, after joining the Cleveland Cavaliers last summer, as part of the three-team trade that sent Larry Nance Jr. to the Portland Trail Blazers, and Derrick Jones Jr. to the Bulls, Markkanen got his career back on track.
In 61 regular-season games for the Cavaliers, Markkanen averaged 14.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game while shooting 35.8% from deep and 54.8% from inside the perimeter. Yet, when the opportunity for Cleveland to acquire Donovan Mitchell arose, Markkanen was packaged up and sent out to Utah, and right now, there’s no telling if they view him as a piece for the future, or another player to flip in return for draft assets and young project players.
If Derrick White is The Price, Boston Should Pay
In his article, Robb noted how Derrick White could be the salary-matching piece in a potential trade, and while that would hurt the Celtics guard rotation, they have enough talent at the point guard and shooting guard positions to maintain legitimate depth.
Sure, White’s defense is ideal for playing back-up to Marcus Smart, but his offense is limited and given Malcolm Brogdon’s recent arrival, there are already questions about what White’s role is going to look like next season.
Furthermore, there are multiple members of the Celtics fanbase and media who have been less than impressed with White’s contributions since joining the team at the February trade deadline. In fact, on the latest episode of The Celtics Collective, Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney listed White as the team’s most overvalued player.
“You know, and I kept hearing through throughout his short time with the Celtics and and and into the playoffs that he’s doing things out there, that he’s making winning plays and they haven’t had a guy like him, and Ime loves him and all this stuff. But in the end, I mean, he came in for 26 games and shot 40 percent from the field and 30 percent from the three-point line.
He had some pretty good moments in the playoffs, for sure, but still 36 percent from the field, 31 percent from the three-point line. This is common in his career. It’s been the knock on him – that he’s not a consistent shooter. And that’s gonna hold him back,” Deveney said in the latest episode of the Celtics Collective Podcast.
So, if Markkanen is genuinely available (which is unknown at this point) then Boston should seriously consider streamlining their guard rotation and bringing in the impressive young forward – after all, Markkanen perfectly fits the team’s current timeline.