Trade season is upon us, and according to Matt Moore of the Action Network, the Boston Celtics are chasing a star player. Not to swap for Jaylen Brown, but rather team with Brown and teammate Jayson Tatum. Of course, there isn’t a shortage of such players rumored to be available ahead of the February 10 deadline, from Ben Simmons to Jerami Grant, the list goes on.
One name that could pose particular interest to the Celtics is Indiana Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis, who would check plenty of the hypothetical boxes for a player president Brad Stevens may be eager to pursue. For starters, the two-time All-Star boasts a fairly reasonable contract (average salary of $18.7 million) for a player of his stature and is just 25 years old — which fits into Boston’s perceived contention window alongside a 25-year-old Brown and 23-year-old Tatum. Secondly, his blend of scoring and passing would give the Cs a major jolt in playmaking along their frontcourt. Furthermore, and most importantly, he’s a player that the Celtics could have a “realistic chance” of obtaining, according to Mass Live’s Brian Robb.
“The Celtics would certainly have a realistic chance at [Sabonis] if they are willing to dig deep into their draft treasure chest and give up multiple unprotected first-round picks on top of some matching salary/young talent that Indy finds appealing,” Robb wrote in his latest Boston Celtics mailbag column.
Too Costly for Boston?
While Boston could theoretically make a legitimate run at Sabonis, the question then becomes would they be willing to part with the pieces in order to do so? Robb isn’t quite sure that coughing up future draft capital and young talent such as Rob Williams III, Grant Williams, Aaron Nesmith, etc. would be worth the return of a player with Sabonis’ limitations and spotty postseason resume.
“However, that’s not necessarily a price Brad Stevens should be willing to pay at this point for a guy who is not a strong defender and hasn’t come close to matching his regular season production in his brief postseason stints,” noted Robb. “That type of big is probably not worth going all-in on, especially if there could be more appealing targets on the table this offseason for Boston for their trade assets.”
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Sabonis ‘Just Straight Wants Out’ of Indiana?
Whether the Celtics are legitimate contenders for Sabonis remains to be seen. Of course, knowing whether the Pacers would actually be willing to part ways with the Gonzaga product would help connect some dots. As of now, there isn’t any clear-cut answer on that front.
On one hand, both Moore and Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer have reached reported that Sabonis wants out of Indiana. On December 10, O’Connor stated on “The Mismatch” podcast that Sabonis “just straight wants out. He does.” Moore backed O’Connor’s take, claiming “that’s what I was told by multiple league sources as well.”
However, Pacers insider Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files, clearly doesn’t share the same sources:
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