Jackson 5: Draft week deals for Celtics

By Aaron Jackson,

We’re less than a week away from the NBA draft, with the Boston Celtics being an incredibly interesting team to watch. They have three mid to late first round picks in a draft that is widely considered to be a top-heavy year. They’re also a team that wants to win now, but likely is one or two pieces away depending on Kyrie Irving. Here are five scenarios that could play out based on the draft.


  1. Anthony Davis comes to Boston: Let me get this out of the way first; despite what you may have heard, the Celtics cannot trade for Davis until July 1st. That said, the Los Angeles Lakers can’t deal for him until July 6th because of salary cap issues, so the Celtics aren’t alone in being restricted. Davis’ agent Rich Paul has come out and said Boston can trade for him, but to not blame him when he bolts after a year. That doesn’t bode well. Still, Danny Ainge is known to be a gambler, and we all know how talented the Unibrow can be. Here’s the offer I send: Jaylen Brown, the 14 pick, the 20 pick and Al Horford (he helps make the money work). This to me is about on par with what the Lakers are reported to be offering, and leaves you a core of Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward and Anthony Davis.

  2. Celtics trade up for Ja Morant: Assuming Kyrie isn’t staying, and Terry Rozier gets a big offer somewhere else, the Celtics will need a point guard. Morant could be that guy right away. Arguably the best player in the draft, Morant is an incredibly talented player that will start immediately for whichever team takes him. You pair him with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum and you’ve got a great core of youngsters ready to compete at the highest level, combined with veteran leadership with guys like Al Horford and Marcus Smart. Offer: 14, 20 and Terry Rozier (he’d agree to a deal with the Grizzlies, the Celtics would offer him said deal, then sign and trade him to Memphis).

  3. Celtics retain Irving, trade picks for veteran talent: One can assume that if they do bring Kyrie Irving back they won’t be looking to take at least one if not all three of their first round picks. They’d put themselves squarely in win now mode, and picks as low as theirs aren’t likely to make an impact right away. So you shop them with the idea being you can get a veteran presence to help with the here and now. The Detroit Pistons, who Ainge has done business with in the past, could be an option with Andre Drummond or Blake Griffin. Kevin Love could be another option. Clint Capela rumors are already swirling. I’m guessing if they go this route one of those 4 would be a likely choice, as a big man is their most glaring need. Offer: 14, 22 and Daniel Theiss or 20 and Rozier (again, dependent on sign and trade) for any of them.

  4. Celtics sign and trade Irving: This is still a real possibility. Fact is the Celtics can offer Irving more money than anyone else. So if he’s serious about going to, say, the Brooklyn Nets, Ainge could swoop in, give him his mega max deal, then trade him to Jay-Z. In return the Celtics can get DeAngelo Russell, a young player that is good but certainly not at Irving’s level. Offer: Irving for Russell.

  5. Celtics keep all 3 picks: This to me is the craziest and most unrealistic option of them all. Picks 14, 20 and 22 aren’t likely to do the Celtics much good at all at least for next year, if not for 2-3 years, especially in a draft as top heavy as this one. But, if this is the route they go, that means they’ve likely given up on the idea of winning now, and are looking at contending in 2021 or 2022, and will likely stash some players overseas. Players like Giannis Antetekuompo were taken this late in the draft because they’re relative unknowns that could be great with time, but are just as likely to be busts that are never heard of again. Players like Sekou Doumbouya and Goga Bitadze are the two most likely to be drafted and stashed.

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