Celtics' Hypothetical Blockbuster Trades to Shake Up NBA Offseason

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistMay 19, 2022

Celtics' Hypothetical Blockbuster Trades to Shake Up NBA Offseason

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    The Boston Celtics could be two rounds away from an 18th NBA title.

    Or they might be three losses away from wondering where it all went wrong and spending the upcoming summer trying to fix it.

    If this proves to be a championship core, it could be a sleepy offseason for the Shamrocks. But if this team can't get past the Miami Heat or whichever club escapes the Western Conference, perhaps a major shake-up could be in the works.

    That's the possibility we're exploring by cooking up three summer blockbusters—baseline concepts, not dollar-for-dollar full trades—for Boston.

Finding a New 5 in Phoenix

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    Barry Gossage/Getty Images

    Blockbuster Idea: Robert Williams III, Derrick White and Aaron Nesmith to the Phoenix Suns for Deandre Ayton (sign-and-trade)

    If the Celtics go big-game hunting this season, they don't have the deepest asset pool to draw from. Jayson Tatum might be untouchable—or as close to it as any NBA player can get—and if Jaylen Brown is up for grabs, it would only be in deals delivering a star back to Boston.

    For the Shamrocks to get aggressive, then, that would probably put Robert Williams III on the chopping block. That's a tough pill to swallow given what the 24-year-old has already shown and how much better he can still get, but you have to give up something to get something.

    And here, the Celtics would be getting an impact center in Deandre Ayton, the No. 1 pick in a draft that included Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Jaren Jackson Jr., Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Miles Bridges and Mikal Bridges.

    The 23-year-old has all the makings of a cornerstone center. He can score from the paint to the mid-range (quite possibly to the perimeter at some point), control the glass and defend inside and out.

    Even if he isn't as disruptive of a defender as Williams, Ayton's superior scoring, rebounding and offensive skill could help the Celtics come out ahead.

The St. Louis Special

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Blockbuster Idea: Robert Williams III, Aaron Nesmith and draft considerations for Bradley Beal

    Jayson Tatum and Bradley Beal both hail from St. Louis. Their paths crossed more than once on their way to the Association.

    "We grew up five minutes from each other," Beal told reporters last summer. "... Jayson and I have a special relationship."

    Imagine if that special relationship had a chance to grow within the same offense.

    If the Celtics could land Beal without losing Jaylen Brown—sacrificing Robert Williams III would sting a lot, but it might be the only way to get Beal without splitting up the Jays—they might roll into next season as the favorites to lead the league in offensive efficiency.

    Oh, and the favorites to win it all, too.

Betting Big on the Brow

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    Blockbuster Idea: Jaylen Brown to the Los Angeles Lakers for Anthony Davis

    More pieces would have to be added to make this trade past the money-matching requirements, and both fanbases would likely quibble over which side needs to give more.

    Celtics fans may favor Jaylen Brown for his age (25), improvement and lack of injury issues. Lakers fans could counter that Anthony Davis has hit a higher peak than Brown may ever approach.

    How those negotiations play out doesn't really matter. This is the heart of the swap: Brown for Davis.

    If nothing else, it's a fascinating mental exercise.

    Bringing Davis to Boston would super-power this already elite defense and make it easier for the Celtics stars to play off of one another, since there wouldn't be as much skill overlap as there is now.

    Sending Brown to L.A. could give the Lakers the two-way wing they so desperately need.