The center position for the Boston Celtics already seems to have a long-term resident in the likes of Robert Williams III. However, oddsmakers seem to be of the belief that the franchise could be a top landing spot for one particular rival pivot should he be on the move.
According to Betonline.ag, the shamrocks boast the best odds (+300) of serving as the next employers of veteran big man Nikola Vucevic should he depart from the Chicago Bulls.
The two-time NBA All-Star comes into this year’s offseason slated to hit unrestricted free agency and, though indications are that he has an interest in remaining in the Windy City, the win-now Celtics could prove to be an intriguing option for his services should he have a wandering eye.
Since 2018-19, Nikola Vucevic has proven to be a trusty inside-out frontcourt scoring threat and is boasting impressive per-game averages of 19.8 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 3.5 assists throughout this span while shooting 49.4% from the field and 35.6% from deep.
Though having Robert Williams’ defensive presence down low has certainly been a luxury for Boston during his tenure as we witnessed this past season and into the playoffs, when Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum aren’t scoring, the club struggles to buy a bucket.
Having a talent like Vucevic join this rotation would provide the Celtics starting lineup with a dominating scoring threat on all three levels.
Celtics Urged to Monitor Availability of Kristaps Porzingis
In the event that Nikola Vucevic remains with the Bulls, should the Celtics still wish to upgrade their frontcourt talent pool NESN’s Gio Rivera believes that another route to consider could be to pursue a trade for Washington Wizards star big man, Kristaps Porzingis.
“No, he’s not the same must-watch “unicorn” talent he once was in a New York Knicks jersey, but that isn’t what the Celtics would need. Porzingis is still an elite-level front-court threat with the ability to protect the glass and score, leading the Wizards in both points (23.2) and rebounds (8.4). Obviously, there’s the salary factor in place that won’t complicate this hypothetical trade target, but the 27-year-old would be a huge upgrade from the cement-footed Al Horford, who is far beyond his prime and got exposed for his age all throughout the playoffs,” Rivera wrote.
Sources around the league suggest that the Wizards could be interested in blowing up their current collection of talents and, in turn, embarking on a full-fledged franchise rebuild which, should this happen, would have the likes of Kristaps Porzingis become a hot ticket on the trade market.
In Rivera’s eyes, the Celtics should be monitoring his situation in Washington closely.
The power forward is coming off one of the best campaigns of his already impressive career, as he posted stellar per-game averages of 23.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.5 blocks while shooting 49.8% from the field and 38.5% from deep.
Trading Jaylen Brown Viewed as Top Priority for Celtics
While Brad Stevens has publicly noted that he hopes to run things back next season and keep his club’s star tandem of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown together, Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey is of the belief that the duo may have officially run its course and suggests that the first order of business on the Celtics’ “offseason to-do list” should be to trade Brown outbound.
“Because he just made All-NBA, Jaylen Brown is eligible for a gargantuan five-year, $285.6 million extension. Jayson Tatum is almost certainly going to be one year behind with a similarly jaw-dropping deal. And under the new collective bargaining agreement, which essentially introduces a hard cap in the form of its new “second apron,” having two such contracts on the books is going to be incredibly onerous. You darn-near have to be sure you can win a title with those two guys. And while the Boston Celtics can maybe talk themselves into that, the prospect of turning Brown into more than one role player or some future assets should be on the table,” Bailey wrote.
Jaylen Brown is coming off a career-best campaign where he posted stupendous averages of 26.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.5 assists on 49.1% shooting from the field, while earning his second All-Star nod as well as his first All-NBA selection.
Of course, the latter of which has him eligible to ink a new supermax contract extension this coming summer with a worth of up to $295 million, which, to some, is considered to be money best spent elsewhere to fill out the roster around number one option, Jayson Tatum.