Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Celtics Fireworks May Still Be In Play

Every once in a while in the sports world, a small story can put events into motion that lead to a major deal.

The news that broke about Dion Waiters leaving Oklahoma City for the Miami Heat may just be the event that triggers the events that lead Russell Westbrook to the Celtics on a long-term contract extension.

Waiters departure creates the salary cap space that the Thunder need to sign Westbrook to a long-term contract extension.  The question is, does Westbrook want to stay in Oklahoma City for the next several years?

If the answer is no, Oklahoma City has to immediately start to shop their All-NBA guard around the league because they cannot afford to lose Westbrook in free agency with nothing in return after they just went through that scenario with Kevin Durant.

Enter the Celtics.

If Westbrook can be convinced to do a extend-and-trade to Boston (and according to Larry Coon, that is legal under the NBA's collective bargaining agreement), the Celtics have plenty of assets to send back to Oklahoma City.

Now, if I read Coon's breakdown of the CBA incorrectly, this is all a moot point.  But if he can be extended-and-traded and he agrees to do so to the Celtics, Boston would be in position to add an MVP caliber player in the prime of his career that would make them an instant title contender.

Danny Ainge, Brad Stevens, and Isaiah Thomas did make a trip to Southern California after the end of the Las Vegas Summer League last week, which led to rumors that they were there to recruit potential trade targets.  Maybe, just maybe, Ainge's Celtics contingent had the chance to meet with Westbrook on this trip and convince him that Boston was the best place for him to win championships.  It brings up memories of when Ainge traveled to Malibu to convince Kevin Garnett to accept a trade from Minnesota to Boston in July 2007 that led to the franchise's 17th title in 2008.

I'm not going to speculate too much on the possible package of players and draft picks that the Celtics would have to ship to Oklahoma City but a rotation consisting of Westbrook, Al Horford, Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, and Jae Crowder would make the Celtics a serious threat to win the 2017 NBA title and make them a contender to win championships for the foreseeable future.

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