Rumors are swirling that the Celtics will trade for Indiana Pacers forward Paul George. The sticking point of course are the Nets 2017 & 2018 draft picks. Before we get into compensation, let’s talk about why this is so right for the Celtics.
The Celtics are a very good basketball team. Isaiah Thomas is playing like an MVP candidate lately and the C’s are only 3 games back of the Cavs for top seed in the east. With the Cavs dealing with an injury to Kevin Love, now is the time to strike.
NBA history is littered with teams that were on the cusp of titles and for whatever reason those championship dreams were never realized. I know Celtics GM and President of basketball operations Danny Ainge is keen to hold onto assets but, is that 2017 or 2018 pick as good as Paul George is today? No.
Imagine a Celtics starting lineup with Smart, Thomas, Horford and PG-13. That would be incredible, particularly in a potential matchup against the Cavs. While nobody truly stops LeBron James, the addition of Paul George means that isn’t as lopsided an advantage for Cleveland as it once was.
Now, compensation is what will get this deal done. The Celtics will certainly have to add one of the Nets draft picks. But what else would they have to give up? The key in this deal, is for the Celtics not to give up too much of what they currently have. Would they have to part with Avery Bradley, Tyler Zeller or Kelly Olynyk? Or one of their young assets with team friendly contracts, like Jaylen Brown?
Of course Boston isn’t the only team looking at PG-13. The Celtics long time rivals, the Lakers are also interested. While they are a long way off from contending, the new managerial infrastructure and the fact that PG-13 is a SoCal native could loom large. We will know for sure by 3pm eastern on Thursday.