First things first, Boston Celtics‘ new president of basketball operations Brad Stevens needs to find a head coach to fill the vacancy he’s left behind in recent days. From there, Stevens can shift the majority of his focus towards reworking the roster of a mere .500 team that thoroughly disappointed this season.
In other words, he’ll undoubtedly have his work cut out for him this summer.
The Celtics severely lack financial flexibility and if they hope to re-sign impending free-agent Evan Fournier for market value this offseason, they’ll be staring down the barrel of the highest tax bill in franchise history (h/t Mass Live’s Brian Robb). Of course, they could opt against re-upping Fournier, a move that — in theory — could make Boston’s pockets a tad thicker. That is, if they can find an adequate, cheaper perimeter scorer to replace him.
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Celtics-Pacers Trade Proposal Ships Jeremy Lamb to Boston
Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz believes he’s found a serviceable fallback option for the Celtics in Indiana Pacers’ Jeremy Lamb. With that said, such a move may come at the cost of losing both veteran Tristan Thompson and youngster Carsen Edwards in the process.
Here’s how the full trade proposal breaks down:
- Indiana Pacers Receive:
- C Tristan Thompson
- G Carsen Edwards
- Boston Celtics Receive:
- G/F Jeremy Lamb
- C Goga Bitadze
“Boston should be ready to hand the starting center job to Robert Williams III, making this trade possible,” Swartz wrote. “Lamb gives the Celtics some scoring on the perimeter, something they may really need if Evan Fournier walks in free agency.”
Lamb, 29, is unquestionably a dropoff from Fournier in the scoring department. While the latter averaged nearly 20 points per game in 2020-21, the former is coming off his worst scoring campaign of the past four years (10.1 ppg). With that said, Lamb did shoot a career-best 40.6% from beyond the arc this season, ranking within the top-40 of the NBA. On top of that, his base salary for next season checks in at a feasible $10.5 million — nearly half of what Fournier may demand in free agency.
“He’s [Fournier] going to look for $15-20 million a year,” an anonymous NBA executive estimated when speaking to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto.
Breaking Down Boston’s Losses in Proposal
As for the other pieces involved in this proposal, we do agree with the notion that the Celtics should be willing to hand over the starting center gig to Time Lord. With that said, his injury history makes such a decision easier said than done. Moving on from a veteran backup plan in Thompson — no matter how underwhelming at times — has its drawbacks, especially when that player remains a fairly dominant presence on the offensive boards. His 3.1 offensive rebounds per game this season were tied for 11th-most league-wide. Yet, as Swartz notes, adding Bitadze to the deal could theoretically help ease depth concerns in the frontcourt.
“Bitadze was a first-round pick in 2019 and is still just 21, giving the Celtics a solid young backup behind Williams,” he added.
In terms of moving on from Edwards, the Purdue product has failed to log meaningful, consistent minutes in Boston’s backcourt since being selected in the second round two years ago. Expect the 23-year-old to be on the chopping block this summer.