The Boston Celtics may have some point guard question marks of their own. However, with Marcus Smart under contract through 2026 and Dennis Schroder doing his best to play himself into the C’s future, the chance Brad Stevens swings a notable deal at the position ahead of this year’s trade deadline seems rather slim.
Yet, while Boston works to get the most out of their current backcourt assortment, a former Celtics guard could be in play as a deadline candidate for one of Boston’s more vaunted rivals.
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Proposed Trade Adds Depth to Miami’s Backcourt
With a record of 12-7 on the season, the Miami Heat are just two games out of first place in the Eastern Conference standings. Offseason acquisition Kyle Lowry has proven a worthy conductor for the Miami offense, while Tyler Herro has bounced back in a big way after a down 2020-21 campaign. However, Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz believes the Heat would be wise to add some reinforcement to their backcourt. Presenting a trade idea for “every NBA contender,” the B/R columnist proposes Miami ships off forward KZ Okpala to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for point guard Brad Wanamaker and a 2022 second-round pick:
Tyler Herro is this team’s best trade asset, but he looks like a star again following a disappointing 2020-21 season. There’s no reason to move him either. Instead, the 12-7 Heat should concentrate on adding depth, especially at point guard behind the 35-year-old Lowry.
Wanamaker is hitting 36.4 percent of his threes as a backup with the Indiana Pacers and carries 21 games of playoff experience despite entering the NBA in the 2018-19 season. He’d be a solid veteran option off Miami’s bench, and giving up Okpala in the deal should bring a much-needed draft pick in return…
The Heat can’t do much unless they part with one of their core players, so getting Wanamaker for depth to keep Lowry fresh for the postseason may be as good as it gets.
Outlook on Wanamaker
Wanamaker, 32, spent two seasons with the Celtics. In 2018-19, the Pittsburgh product flashed his range from deep, knocking down 41% of his attempts from beyond the arc. He followed up that campaign with the most well-rounded showing of his C’s tenure, averaging 6.9 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists over a career-high 71 games in 2019-20.
Following his exit from Beantown, Wanamaker latched on with Golden State, spending the early parts of 2020-21 as Stephen Curry’s backup. However, he was ultimately dealt to Charlotte at the deadline after falling out of favor in the Warriors rotation. Wanamaker went on to appear in 22 games with the Hornets, matching his career-best scoring output from his Celtics days with 6.9 points per game. His 19.5 minutes per contest and 3.4 assists also marked new personal bests.
Wanamaker has continued to flash his 3-point prowess and gritty defensive traits since coming over to Indiana this year. However, due to Indiana’s current backcourt makeup, Swartz believes Wanamaker’s presence would be better put to use in South Beach:
With Malcolm Brogdon and T.J. McConnell, the Pacers don’t need Wanamaker at point guard as much as the Heat would. Giving him up to acquire a 22-year-old forward in Okpala would be wise, especially since T.J. Warren is still working his way back from a foot injury.
Wanamaker inked a training camp deal with the Pacers this offseason on October 6th, meaning he won’t be eligible to be traded until January 4th.