The Celtics appear to be doing their due diligence as the March 25 NBA trade deadline approaches.
Boston is in need of a roster boost if it wants to contend for the NBA Finals this season. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge recently acknowledged as much when he stated he believes the C’s, as currently constituted, are not a championship-caliber team.
So, who are the Celtics looking into to potentially provide a jolt? The Athletic’s Shams Charania on Thursday reported Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant is among Boston’s top trade targets. Charania claims Boston also has shown interest in the Orlando Magic’s Nikola Vucevic and the Sacramento Kings’ Nemanja Bjelica.
Grant is on pace for a career season, his first in Detroit. The 26-year-old currently is averaging 23.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. Grant could be a seamless fit in Boston and his defensive versatility surely would appeal to head coach Brad Stevens. But the Pistons could look for him to be their franchise cornerstone as they rebuild, so his asking price might be too expensive for the Celtics’ liking.
Vucevic, an All-Star in two of the last three seasons, could provide Boston with both size and scoring. He’s currently averaging 24.5 points and 11.7 rebounds per game. But much like Grant, the trade package needed to acquire Vucevic probably would need to be pretty significant.
Bjelica, meanwhile, is on an expiring contract, so the Kings wouldn’t have ton of leverage in trade talks. The 6-foot-11 forward would be a nice addition to the Celtics, but he probably wouldn’t make the Green much better than they are now. A trade for Bjelica would come off as making a move for the sake of making a move.
The Celtics have the means to take a big swing, but team brass already has suggested the franchise might be better suited to take that hack over the offseason. Boston very well could be checking in on those aforementioned players, but it probably is nothing more than that.