Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Other Shoe?

When Danny Ainge traded the first pick in Thursday's NBA Draft to the 76ers, Boston fans dreaming about Markelle Fultz were very disappointed.

If the end result of Danny Ainge's decision is to take advantage of Phil Jackson and trade a package of picks and players to the Knicks for Kristaps Porzingis, start clearing space on Ainge's mantle for the Executive of the Year Award.

You read that right.  Kristaps Porzingis is rumored to be available and the Celtics are at the top of the list of teams with the assets necessary to land the 7-3 21-year-old center who has every tool imaginable to become an All-NBA performer.

Maybe the rumors revolve around Jackson just doing his due diligence.  It's the job of every personnel guy to do his homework and see what the options are, especially at this time of year.

Jackson has not been the most reliable of personnel guys since taking the reigns of the Knicks in March 2014.  He has yet to turn the Knicks into a title contender and other than drafting Porzingis with the #4 pick in the 2015 Draft, he has not made any significant moves to improve the Knicks.

Moving Porzingis will not be popular in New York but it may be their only chance to clear some salary cap space, add draft picks, and begin to rebuild the once proud franchise.

The Celtics could send Jae Crowder and Terry Rozier  to the Kincks along with the #3 pick in Thursday's draft and an additional future first round pick for Porzingis.  As part of the deal, Boston would also send a future first round pick to Cleveland as incentive for the Cavs to send Kevin Love to the Knicks for Carmelo Anthony.  Love is known to be a favorite of Jackson and Anthony is one of LeBron James' best friends and keeping him happy is always important plus it wouldn't hurt the Cavs to try a different approach because they can't play Love against the Warriors and Cleveland-Golden State IV is a likely Finals matchup in 2018.

New York clears out Anthony's contract, adds a star in Love, a solid starter in Crowder, a promising young guard in Rozier, and two first round picks.

Cleveland lands Anthony in their (possibly last) attempt to win a title with LeBron James.  They also get a future first round pick to help with the eventual post-LeBron rebuild.

Boston ends up with a franchise center who makes the Celtics a legitimate threat to win the East and contend with the Warriors for the NBA championship.

Porzingis would be joined in the starting lineup by Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jaylen Brown, and Al Horford.  This doesn't include adding Gordon Hayward as a free agent, which is a strong possibility.

Even for all the Celtics fans who were upset with Ainge trading the first overall pick in this year's draft to Philadelphia, this is an appealing outcome.

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