Every time it looks as if the Boston Celtics may be finally turning the corner, they hit another roadblock. Tuesday night was no different, as the Philadelphia 76ers toyed with the Cs for much of the game, en route to a 10-point victory over the Cs. The loss ended a two-game win streak for Boston and dropped their record back under .500.
To make matters worse, Evan Fournier, their prized acquisition at the trade deadline, was placed in health and safety protocols and is expected to miss at least the next week of play. Fournier may not be the most dominant defender in the world, but his size (6-foot-7-inches) and his shooting prowess (career 37.7% shooter from 3-point range) make him one of Boston’s better three-and-D options — albeit that may not be saying much, as Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley highlighted.
“The next modern NBA team that isn’t in need of three-and-D wings will be the first,” Buckley wrote. “If that team did exist, it certainly wouldn’t be Boston. While the Celtics have a lethal top two with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the rest of their forward rotation is severely lacking.”
While potential buyout candidate Otto Porter wouldn’t exactly completely eliminate this issue, Buckley believes the versatile forward “could help temporarily plug a few holes at least.”
Should Otto Porter be the Celtics’ ‘Top Target’?
In what is shaping up to be a dried-up buyout market, it’s hard to argue against Porter being the apple of most team’s eyes. With Andre Drummond and Ben McLemore taking their talents to Los Angeles, and Kelly Olynyk and Avery Bradley appearing more and more likely to stay put in Houston, Porter has become ever the more appealing. While there’s no guarantee the former No. 3 overall pick hits the open market if he does, Buckley believes that Porter will be atop the Celtics’ wish list — as well as a plethora of other teams.
“Of course, that means if he makes it to the buyout market (which isn’t a given), he should be unopposed as every shopper’s top target. The Celtics would be no different,” Buckley claimed. “He makes all the sense for them right now, and he might be someone they want to bring back in free agency.”
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Is Porter the Type of Player That Can Make Tatum & Brown Better?
In the final year of a $106.5 million deal, the 27-year-old is set to become a free agent following this season. Injuries have vastly limited Porter’s production of late. Since 2019, the former Georgetown star has appeared in just 42 games. With that said, as we alluded to above, three-and-D wings are extremely crucial in today’s NBA. In return, teams will likely continue to line up for the services of the Magic’s forward were he to be made available. This, despite the fact that Porter is averaging sub-10.0 ppg this season.
Porter may not be the type of star player many hoped he’d be when the Wizards selected him with the No. 3 overall pick. However, his skill set lends well to amplify the talent of other star players around him.
“Drafted third overall in 2013, Porter has built his career around defensive versatility and offensive spacing. He’s had some brutal bouts with the injury bug of late—he played just 14 games last season and only 56 the year prior—but when he keeps himself upright, he’s the kind of support player who won’t step on any toes and will elevate the stars around him,” Buckley notes.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports has recently reported that the Magic plan on keeping Porter, who they acquired in the Nikola Vučević trade with the Bulls. Although, adding that “multiple teams” are eyeing the forward in the event of a buyout.
The buyout deadline for the 2020-21 NBA season is on April 9th.