Proposed Trade Package Could Send ‘Versatile Big Guy’ to Celtics

Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Getty Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics and Jaylen Brown celebrate.

The Boston Celtics continue to prove that they are the most well-rounded team in the NBA this season and are the current owners of the best record at 20-5. However, some believe that Brad Stevens and company should continue to try and bolster the club’s talent pool for a 2023 title push and beyond.

Though there are many ways in which the shamrocks could go about adding fresh new players to their already impressive collection, should they be open to pursuing moves on the trade market, in a December 1 episode of “The Celtics Collective” podcast, host and Heavy Sports’ NBA Insider Sean Deveney believes that Charlotte Hornets power forward P.J. Washington would be a great target.

“I think that the one guy that I’d be interested in Charlotte is P.J. Washington,” Deveney said.

Washington’s current salary of $5.8 million could fit seamlessly into either one of Juancho Hernangomez’s and Dennis Schroder’s traded player exceptions, holding a worth of $6.9 million and $5.8 million, respectively.

With this, the Celtics would not have to ship out any key talents in the process to make a hypothetical deal work, though Deveney believes that it would end up costing them a few draft picks in the process which, in turn, could wind up complicating any such pursuit.

“[It] probably would cost you two first-round picks though, and, you know, you’d really have to wonder if that’s worth it, and then you have to pay him…he’s gonna be a restricted [free agent],” Deveney said.

“[He] didn’t really come close to an extension with Charlotte. He wants to be paid…is it worth uh, you know, giving up two first-rounders for a guy you might not keep or you might be forced to choose either Grant Williams or P.J. Washington but not both in the end?”

Deveney would note, however, that the concept of securing Washington’s rights before he hits restricted free agency this summer would help them secure him for the long-haul, and stated that, if the Hornets were willing to do a deal for “just one first-round pick,” the Celtics likely would be more interested in a pursuit of the 24-year-old.

Grant is a Great Fit for Celtics

As Deveney said, if the Boston Celtics were to land P.J. Washington via trade this season, come the summer Brad Stevens would have to decide between whether or not the club should re-up with him or Grant Williams beyond 2022-23, as both are slated to hit restricted free agency.

Now, while there’s certainly a case to be made that Washington is the better overall talent out of the two, it is Williams who’s already a proven commodity in Beantown and, considering the team’s style of play, his specific skill set seems to be far more beneficial and complementary.

The offensive game plan for the Celtics revolves around both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, as they combine for 40.7 shot attempts per game.

However, outside of their individual scoring, the rest of the team’s approach is largely predicated on driving to the hoop, where they rank within the top 10 in the league, and, when doing so, often they are found kicking the ball close to or beyond the arc (rank seventh in pass percentage in such settings and attempt the second-most catch-and-shoot 3-pointers).

As things currently stand, Williams finds himself serving as one of Boston’s go-to players for such scenarios and boasts a stellar effective field goal percentage of 67.9% on catch-and-shoot attempts.

Though Washington’s per-game averages of 15.9 points are certainly impressive, he’s doing so on just 42.7% shooting from the floor and 34.5% shooting from deep, while also converting on a lackluster 33% of his catch-and-shoot attempts.

All things considered, though one could make the argument that the Charlotte forward provides more overall skills, it is the specific skills that Williams already provides that make him the better fit between the two for the Celtics which, in turn, should likely sway the front office away from making a move for him.

Through 24 games played in 2022-23, the Boston big finds himself boasting career bests virtually all across the board, as he’s averaging 9.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.9 assists on 53.5% shooting from the floor and 45.6% shooting from deep.

Celtics Guard Worried About Injury

The Boston Celtics may be rolling during the first quarter of this year’s campaign, but starting point guard Marcus Smart seems to be reeling as of late, as he’s been battling a nagging hip injury that recently held him out of the team’s December 4 matchup against their divisional rival, the Brooklyn Nets.

Though he ultimately made his way back to the court the following night against the Toronto Raptors, during a post-game media session the veteran admitted that he’s concerned about how his ailment will feel in the coming days.

“Adrenaline kicked in, so I wasn’t really worried about it. Tomorrow morning is what I’m worried about. We’ll see how I feel. But I think I’m on the right path and I should be cleared and I shouldn’t be feeling anything that could keep me out. Might be a little sore, but that’s okay.”

In Smart’s return to action, he finished the bout against Toronto with an impressive all-around stat-line of 18 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals on 50% shooting from both the field and from beyond the arc.

The Celtics went on to win the contest by a final score of 116-110.

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