For the Celtics, it’s certainly a question worth asking. Boston, five games in, was bounced out of the playoffs by the Brooklyn Nets — a team guided by first-year head coach, Steve Nash and the showstopping ‘Big 3’ that features superstars Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving.
Brooklyn’s flamethrowing offense — which was propelled by Durant (32.6), Harden (27.8), and Irving (24.8); who averaged a combined 85.2 points per game — made all the difference in their series against the helpless Celtics. Not having All-Star Jaylen Brown, who underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn scapholunate in his left wrist, was challenging enough, for Boston, never mind seeing Stevens lose two more additional starters in the middle of their best-of-7 series.
How Can The Celtics Compete with The Nets?
Kemba Walker (knee) and Robert Williams’ (foot) respective injuries made watching the Nets dismantle the Celtics in four out of five tries eye-opening, to say the least. It didn’t give you the impression that if Boston had all three missing pieces, they would have had a chance.
It didn’t give me the feeling that the Celtics’ starting unit — at full-strength — could return next season and defeat the Nets in a best-of-7 series, no. Instead, it begged the question, how can the Celtics form a ‘Big 3’ of their own?
If Boston wants to compete for a title, it needs to form a team strong enough to beat the Nets. And while cap space, prospects, and future draft picks are no longer promising assets Boston currently possesses, the Celtics could get lucky and strike a deal that would turn them into instant contenders.
Brad Beal On Future with The Wizards: ‘Ultimately, I’m in Control’
It would have to be the kind of deal similar to what the Nets pulled off with the Rockets for Harden, who forced his way out of town. Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal, who’s entering the final year of his five-year, $127 million deal this upcoming season, isn’t hinting at possibly sticking around the nation’s capital for the long run.
“I haven’t even… we’re not gonna think about that, or even talk about it right now,” Beal said of his commitment to Washington, per Masslive.com’s Brian Robb. “I haven’t thought about none of that, as of yet.”
Enter Celtics All-Star Jayson Tatum. The two-time All-Star and Bradley have been linked with one another since Tatum entered the NBA, in 2017.
The two St. Louis natives met when Tatum was only 13-years-old. It was the beginning of what turned out to be a strong friendship between the two.
And now, as both are in a position to potentially force their respective franchise’s hands to make a deal that will land Beal in Boston; a trade request from Beal, this summer, could quickly get the ball rolling.
“Ultimately, I’m in control,” Beal said. “I think that’s my biggest thing. People are going to report whatever they want, but I know where my mind is and I know if it’s not coming from the horse’s mouth, then it’s going to be rumors. I expect them. S***, they’re starting now.
“So it doesn’t change anything. I guess it’s going to increase a lot more this year with me going into the last year of my deal, but for me, I’m just relaxing, resting my body and we’ll evaluate all that when summer comes.”
Jayson Tatum, Bradley Beal & Russell Westbrook; Celtics’ New ‘Big 3’?
Realistically, Wizards aren’t going to answer the phone unless Jaylen is in the mix. And if you’re the Celtics, you much rather add Beal to your star tandem, swapping out one All-Star in exchange for Beal will feel counterproductive, at this point.
But, a Beal trade request could lead to Washington going into a full-rebuild and, if they were to send out Russell Westbrook in exchange for Walker’s remaining deal, the Celtics should give it some serious thought.
Mr. Triple-double aka Westbrook would have another All-Star to work with alongside Beal and Tatum and give Boston a legitimate shot at winning a championship. Now, the Celtics would have to, of course, give up a whole lot — an offer that would consist of multiple future first-round picks along with prospects like Aaron Nesmith, Robert Williams, and Romeo Langford.
But none of this has a chance of happening without Beal requesting a trade, and Tatum being vocal about wanting to play alongside the Wizards All-Star.