Thursday, June 22, 2017

Celtics In The Middle Of Draft Night Rumor Mill

The NBA Draft is tonight.  In recent years, a Groundhog Day aspect of the Draft has been the large volume of rumors surrounding Danny Ainge and the Celtics.  Tonight will continue that tradition. Here are a few ideas concerning what the Celtics may be up too tonight.


Rumor: The Celtics are interested in Kristaps Porzingis.

Well, to be fair, everyone is interested in the 7-3 Latvian phenom.  This includes my wife after I showed her who he was while explaining why I was giggling so much when the "Porzingis-to-Boston" rumor became public this week.

Porzingis is the perfect fit for Brad Stevens' system.  He is a three-point shooter and an adept passer who would give Boston much needed scoring to complement Isaiah Thomas.  He can also protect the rim and rebound.

The price of adding a 21-year-old with his multi-dimensional skill set will not be cheap but the Celtics are flush with assets.

New York could choose to take the #3 pick in this year's draft and either the 2018 Nets pick or the Lakers/Kings pick owed to the Celtics by the 76ers.  The Knicks are rumored to want a starter as well.  Boston could offer Jae Crowder, who Knicks president of basketball operations Phil Jackson has regretted not acquiring in the past, and if he's not enough then Ainge should be willing to pull the trigger on including Jaylen Brown.

Moving Porzingis will not be a popular move in New York and the Knicks may try to soften the blow by unloading the contract of Carmelo Anthony in any Porzingis trade.

Anthony has a no-trade clause but the option to come to a contender should be enough to get him to waive that and leave the Knicks.  Anthony is an accomplished scorer and while he's never been known to be a team-first player, the chance to be a champion at this stage of his career would hopefully get him to buy in to Stevens and the Celtics.

To make the money work, Boston would have to be willing to deal Avery Bradley and also include Tyler Zeller's contract.

The Knicks would gain some valuable draft picks, two starting wing players in Bradley and Crowder (or Brown), and also relieve themselves of the Carmelo Anthony contract.

Boston would then roll out a starting five of Thomas, Marcus Smart, Anthony, Al Horford, and Porzingis.  The offensive fire power of Thomas and Anthony coupled with sweet shooting big men like Horford and Porzingis could be enough to catapult by Cleveland in the East and put a scare in to the Warriors in the Finals.


Rumor: The Celtics are willing to trade back from the #3 pick.

Danny Ainge is always looking to acquire more draft picks so this rumor should not come as a shock to any follower of the Celtics.

One likely partner for the Celtics in regards to this rumor is the Kings.  Sacramento holds the #5 and #10 picks in tonight's draft and may be looking to move up for a specific player that they fear will be drafted before #5.

If Ainge moves down, some potential targets are Florida State forward Jonathan Isaac, NC State guard Dennis Smith, and Kentucky guard De'Aaron Fox.

There's also a rumor that the Spurs are shopping forward LaMarcus Aldridge for a top ten pick so if Boston were to swing this deal with Sacramento, the #10 pick could possibly used to add Aldridge.


Rumor: The Celtics will draft Jonathan Isaac at #3.

This one is puzzling to me because there seems to more "NBA ready" players available at #3 than Isaac but there are also some obvious reasons why he would be appealing.

Physically, Isaac has more upside than players like Jayson Tatum or Josh Jackson because of his length.  Isaac is 6-11 and that type of size for a small forward is rare and in today's NBA that allows him to more readily project as a "stretch 4".  His strengths include his ability to shoot the ball, especially from 3-point range, his athleticism, and his ability to protect the rim.

Taking Isaac at #3 would be a gamble but Ainge has never been shy to do so, as evidenced by his trading of the #1 pick to the 76ers.

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