The Boston Celtics made quite the splash heading into the weekend. President Brad Stevens wheeled-and-dealed his way into multiple trades, parting ways with bigs Tristan Thompson and Moses Brown while adding wing Josh Richardson, center Bruno Fernando and point guard Kris Dunn to the roster.
Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz would like to see Stevens and company keep that aggression going, proposing a blockbuster sign-and-trade that would immediately solidify their point guard position.
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Celtics ‘Blow Up 2021 NBA Free Agency’ in B/R’s Proposal
While Marcus Smart is a viable placeholder at point guard, chances are the Celtics would welcome the addition of a bonafide lead-guard such as six-time All-Star Kyle Lowry. If this proves to be the case, they’d likely have to get creative in order to facilitate such a move — including possibly packaging Smart in a proposal to snag the premier free agent in a sign-and-trade.
Here’s how Swartz envisions the Celtics can “blow up 2021 NBA free agency”:
- Boston Celtics Receive:
- PG Kyle Lowry (via sign-and-trade)
- Toronto Raptors Receive:
- PG Marcus Smart
- PF Grant Williams
- G/F Romeo Langford
The Celtics should be in the market for a point guard after trading Kemba Walker, and Lowry would be an upgrade as a veteran running Boston’s offense. The 35-year-old is still playing at a high level after averaging 17.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 1.0 steals and shooting 39.6 percent from three last season. He brings the championship experience that this still mostly young Celtics team needs and would help push them back toward the top of the East following a disappointing 2020-21 season.
A starting five of Lowry, Jaylen Brown, Evan Fournier (if he re-signs), Jayson Tatum and Al Horford would be one of the best in the conference, and the bench wouldn’t be completely gutted, either.
While the Celtics were eager to move off of Walker’s contract, his departure does strip the team of a great deal of production. Even in what proved to be an injury-ridden 2020-21 campaign for the four-time All-Star, he still managed to average nearly 20.0 points and 5.0 assists per game.
Neither Smart nor the other point guards on the roster (Dunn, Payton Pritchard, Carsen Edwards and Tremont Waters) have proven capable of putting forth similar offensive production. Lowry, on the other hand, has. Since 2013, the Philadelphia native has averaged 18.3 points and 7.3 assists per contest.
An Aging Lowry vs. Marcus Smart on an Expiring Contract
The two biggest potential drawbacks in this proposed deal — which remains an unlikely one at this time — are Lowry’s age and the departure of Smart. While Swartz made a quality argument for Lowry’s championship pedigree as a plus for Boston, the 35-year-old point guard is clearly on the older side and goes against the idea of constructing a roster around Jayson Tatum (23 years old) and Jaylen Brown (24 years old) from a long-term perspective. With that said, plugging in a player of Lowry’s skill level and intangibles could easily supersede siding for a younger guard on either the free agency or trade market.
As for Smart, he’s not the most dynamic offensive player out there. His shot selection can still be a bit of a headache. Yet, he’s proven capable of operating smoothly alongside the two Jays (Tatum and Brown) and flashed improvement as a distributor this past season, averaging a career-high 5.7 assists. Add in his tenacious defensive abilities and leadership traits and Smart is certainly a difficult player to surrender.
Then again, the Celtics have a contract decision to make on Smart, who could theoretically walk after this season if they opt not to extend him. In that case, swapping him for a player of Lowry’s magnitude would be more than a solid trade-off for Boston. Per Swartz, such a move should be welcomed from Toronto’s perspective as well.
Toronto doesn’t have a lot of leverage since Lowry is an unrestricted free agent, so it should be thrilled with getting back a premier defender and two prospects. Smart is still one of the best defensive guards in basketball, and he’d join a Raptors backcourt featuring Fred VanVleet and restricted free agent Gary Trent Jr. Meanwhile, Langford and Williams could develop as sparks off the bench.