All eyes are on the Boston Celtics as the NBA’s trade deadline approaches.
The C’s have the most quality trade assets of any team in the league and need another star player to join the upper echelon of championship contenders. Boston’s best asset is its 2017 first-round pick swap with the Brooklyn Nets. It could end up being the No. 1 pick in a loaded draft, though, so there’s been plenty of debate on whether the C’s should give it up.
With less than 72 hours before Thursday’s deadline, NESN.com is going to settle the debate once and for all. Be sure to make your voice heard by voting in the poll below.
Celtics should trade the pick
The Celtics, thanks to new rules, can protect the Nets’ picks in trades. This should make the Celtics even more willing to include them in a deal for a superstar like Jimmy Butler or Paul George.
The Eastern Conference is right there for the Celtics to win. The Cleveland Cavaliers are dealing with injuries to key players and LeBron James is playing way too many minutes. The Toronto Raptors are good on paper but have played poorly over the last month, and the surging Washington Wizards are young and inconsistent.
Adding a player of Butler’s or George’s caliber would give the Celtics a great chance to return to the NBA Finals, and neither player is a rental, either. Both players are excellent scorers and would take some of the offensive burden off Isaiah Thomas. In Butler’s case, he’s also a tremendous perimeter defender.
Furthermore, this year’s draft class, while deep and loaded with high-end talent, is highlighted by two points guards in Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball. Point guard is the last position that the Celtics need to tweak. They have plenty of depth there.
The Celtics wisely have been patient with their quality trade assets, but it’s time to cash them in for a chance at championship banner 18. This year’s Nets pick will never be more valuable than it is now.
Celtics should not trade the pick
Trading away the Nets’ 2017 pick could be a huge opportunity squandered by the Celtics. Brooklyn has far and away the NBA’s worst record, meaning the pick very well could turn out to be the No. 1 overall selection in June’s draft. If so, it would be the first time Boston held the first pick since 1980. Dealing a draft pick for a proven superstar talent seems like a no-brainer, but there’s a lot to consider before pulling the trigger on such a move.
There’s no denying the Celtics are a piece or two away from contending for an NBA title, but they can find that piece without trading the Brooklyn pick. Boston will have enough cap space to sign a marquee free agent to a max contract this offseason. High-level talents will be available this summer, including Blake Griffin, Gordon Hayward and Paul Millsap. Any of those players would bolster the Celtics’ roster, without having to give up such an impactful asset.
If the Celtics made a move for a superstar player, it would require much more than just the Brooklyn pick. A deal would more than likely include a combination of young and/or proven players, such as Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart or Jaylen Brown. The Celtics’ roster is built to last at present but could radically change following a blockbuster deal.
Bringing in a superstar player at the expense of the Nets’ pick could bring immediate success, but the future would be very much in doubt. Adding a No. 1 overall draft probably won’t reap immediate benefits, but could set up the Celtics nicely for years to come. As Boston is already within striking distance of the Cleveland Cavaliers, adding a top draft choice and high-profile free agent in the offseason could put the team over the top.
— Adam London
Thumbnail photo via Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Feb 16, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls forward Jimmy Butler (21) drives on Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder (99) during the second half at the United Center. Chicago won 104-103. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
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