Based on the numbers and the way the Boston Celtics have played this season, the identity of this team has revolved around defense. They finished the regular season with the best defensive rating in the NBA, and sources have even said that to earn minutes in Ime Udoka’s rotation, a player must be staunch defensively.
However, the one glaring area of need for the Celtics has been three-point shooting. Outside of Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard, Boston lacks consistent three-point shooting. They finished as the 14th-best team in terms of three-point percentage in the regular season (35.6%), and up until the start of the new year, they ranked 24th (33.3%).
Instead of adding shooting at the deadline, though, Brad Stevens went all-in on defense. He traded for defensive-minded guard Derrick White and former Celtics Daniel Theis, neither of whom are known for their shooting. Both are capable shooters from distance, but they shot a combined 31.6% from deep during their regular-season stints in Boston.
On May 5, Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report compiled a list of potential trade targets for the Celtics this offseason. His third and final option would help short-up Boston’s shooting woes.
Sharpshooter Listed as Celtics Trade Target
Buckley proposed that the Celtics target current Miami Heat sharpshooter Duncan Robinson in a trade this summer. This summer, the 6’7 forward inked a five-year, $90 million extension with the Heat but has since fallen out of Miami’s playoff rotation. However, Buckley doesn’t see that as an issue for Boston:
It’s possible that the team’s roster construction is working against him, as a move to the second unit put him on the floor with another leaky wing defender in Tyler Herro, and the Heat seemingly decided they can’t play both. The Celtics have enough stoppers to mean that may never be an issue.
With the emergence of Max Strus as a legitimate three-point threat, Robinson lost his starting job toward the end of the season. And now, through the Heat’s first eight playoff games, Robinson has only appeared in six, averaging just 11.2 minutes per game.
If the Celtics were interested in acquiring his services, it could be a good time to strike a deal. As noted by Buckley, Robinson’s value is likely at an all-time low.
Logistics of Robinson-Celtics Trade
According to Buckley, this could be the perfect time for the Celtics to inquire about a Robinson trade. Since he’s no longer a major part of Miami’s rotation, Robinson should be attainable:
In fact, it’s possible Boston would see Robinson’s demotion as the ultimate buy-low option. Miami can’t possibly put a high price on any Robinson deal, so if the Celtics could get him for cheap—in terms of trade assets; that salary certainly doesn’t qualify—they could find a bargain fire-baller.
Robinson is slated to earn $16.9 million next season, which would fit into the TPE Boston acquired when they dealt Evan Fournier last offseason. This means they could trade for him without having to match his salary.
While Robinson’s defensive abilities wouldn’t fit in perfectly with the Celtics’, his shooting numbers would give them a huge boost. Considering the Heat may be looking to get him off the books, it could be worth a look for Boston.