Nearing the All-Star Break, the Boston Celtics remain atop of the Eastern Conference, however, the near 10-game lead they held over the rest of the conference has quickly evaporated. Now, the Celtics remain with only a 1-game lead over the second place Toronto Raptors.
Though injuries can be attributed to some of the Celtics sloppy play as of late, a 5-6 record over the past 11 games has audiences wondering if the current Celtics roster is enough to guarantee the team another deep playoff run. With that being said, the Celtics have been involved in trade rumors surrounding the acquisition of Tyreke Evans or DeAndre Jordan and are apparently looking to unload Marcus Smart in the process.
Unfortunately for Celtics fans, the latter of the two seems to be off the trade-market as the Clippers no longer seem to be selling the remaining major pieces of their roster. As a result, the teams’ focus will likely be on acquiring the services of multi-position playmaker, Tyreke Evans, who has been having a stellar year for the Memphis Grizzlies.
For Boston, being conservative and placing a high value on their personal assets has benefited them in past trades, however, the Celtics may be wise to offer fair compensation for Evans as a handful of their Eastern Conference foes such as the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers have a similar motive of acquiring Evans. Based on the subpar season the Memphis Grizzlies have had, the Celtics shouldn’t have to give up anything they absolutely do not want to in order to gain the services of Evans; and a likely trade would resemble one of the following variations
To Boston Celtics: Tyreke Evans
To Memphis Grizzlies:
2018 1st Round Pick, OKC 2018 2nd Round Pick, Guerschon Yabusele
or 2019 1st Round Pick (3), 2018 2nd Round Pick, Guerschon Yabusele
The Celtics may also look to use Smart to acquire Evans and another asset in return;
To Boston Celtics: Tyreke Evans, Brandan Wright, 2018 2nd Round Pick
To Memphis Grizzlies: Marcus Smart, Guerschon Yabusele
Finally, the Celtics technically could snag Marc Gasol in a variation of this deal, however, they would be required to send Al Horford the other way to make-up for Gasol’s large contract. Although Gasol is arguably a step-up from Horford, Ainge is unlikely to make another blockbuster deal within the calendar year to avoid chemistry issues. Aside from Evans, the Celtics could look to add another small role player to add more depth to the team. If possible, the Celtics would be wise to downgrade the 1st-round pick they were hoping to acquire for Marcus Smart into a 2nd round pick and take on the contract of Brandan Wright instead who would add some immediate stability in the post on both ends of the floor for Boston. If not possible, the Celtics could also look to deal for players such as Dwayne Dedmon, Mike Muscala, or Tyson Chandler for a possible cost-friendly solution on the inside. Lastly, if the Celtics fail to acquire Evans from the Grizzlies, they should quickly look to propose a similar deal to the Los Angeles Lakers for Jordan Clarkson, or the Utah Jazz in exchange for the services of Derrick Favors.