Despite moving on from four-time All-Star Kemba Walker earlier this offseason, the Boston Celtics still have a handful of in-house point guard options on their hands — albeit not the sexiest of batches.
Barring a trade, Marcus Smart is expected to inherit the starting role left behind by Walker and would more than likely prove to be a serviceable replacement. Other options on the roster include Payton Pritchard, a second-year player who exceeded expectations as a rookie, and Yam Madar, a stashed guard from overseas possessing tons of intrigue.
Still, the Cs are expected to snoop around the point guard market this offseason in hopes of bolstering the position.
Obviously, pulling off a longshot deal to acquire Damian Lillard would be ideal. With that said, a realistic move to strengthen the Celtics’ backcourt this summer will almost certainly be far less splashy. For instance, the team could look at a veteran piece such as T.J. McConnell, who was recently floated as a top priority free agency target. Or, as Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes proposed, Boston could potentially take the trade route in hopes of acquiring a more “traditional” floor-general for their roster.
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D.J. Augustin to Boston?
A deadline trade between the Milwaukee Bucks and Houston Rockets turned D.J. Augustin from contender to bottomfeeder overnight this season. Certainly not ideal for a 33-year-old, 13-year pro. However, maybe a move to Beantown could help both he and the Celtics get back to their title-contending ways? Hughes believes Augustin fits the bill of what Boston is in need of at point guard, labeling the wily veteran as a “surprise trade target” for the Cs this offseason.
Maybe it’s old-fashioned in a modern NBA where positional lines are blurred and versatility is more prized than ever, but it still feels like the Boston Celtics need a traditional point guard.
Kemba Walker is gone, Marcus Smart has immense value but doesn’t quite fit that mold, and Payton Pritchard hasn’t shown much facilitating knack yet. Two-way guard Tremont Waters may not be ready yet, and Yam Madar, a point guard Boston has stashed overseas, will need seasoning if he makes the jump to the NBA next year.
D.J. Augustin is a bit overpaid at $7 million for 2021-22, but he’d fit the bill. Boston could give Augustin 20 minutes per game and know it was getting low-usage, high-efficiency shooting (37.9 percent from deep for his career) and capable facilitating that wouldn’t eat into the touches Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown need.
It’s an added bonus that Augustin’s 2022-23 salary is nonguaranteed.
Augustin is certainly no stranger to changing teams, as he’s suited up for 10 organizations since being selected No. 9 overall in the 2008 NBA Draft. So, if anything, you know he’d be able to get accustomed to his new surroundings fairly quickly. The Texas product is nowhere near a gamechanger, especially at this point in his career. Still, he’s a serviceable veteran that could man moderate minutes in a rotation for a contender.
In 921 career games (332 starts), Augustin has averaged 9.7 points and 4.0 assists per game. In 20 games with the Rockets in 2020-21, he put forth nearly identical numbers, posting 10.6 points and 3.9 assists per contest.