Aaron Gordon to Boston
If the Celtics want to avoid using their trade exception, they’ll have to be sending significant money out the door to Orlando to match Aaron Gordon‘s salary. Assuming Smart isn’t part of the deal, this is the most logical option. In all likelihood, the Celtics would prefer to keep at least one of Aaron Nesmith or Romeo Langford, but unless they’d rather give up Theis and leave themselves thin at center for the rest of the season, this may be the only way to go. Whether or not the Celtics have to throw in a pick is debatable considering their giving up two solid prospects, but even then snagging Gordon without giving up any key pieces from their core and holding on to the trade exception, which should allow them to add another big piece in the offseason, has to be considered a win.
Thad Young Finds Another New Home
If the Celtics fail to land Aaron Gordon, Thaddeus Young would serve as a solid consolation prize. Young could be considered something resembling “Aaron Gordon lite” with a similar build and play style. Young doesn’t provide the same scoring punch or youth, being that he’s seven years older than Gordon, but his veteran presence and versatility as a role player could be exactly what Boston needs.
Barnes, No. Bjelica, Yes.
It doesn’t seem like the Kings are willing to part ways with Harrison Barnes, but they’ve already shown a willingness to deal after shipping Cory Joseph to the Pistons. Nemanja Bjelica should be one of the players they’re looking to move on from. Bjelica has struggled this season, shooting under 30% from deep after shooting over 40% from outside over the last three seasons. Perhaps a change of scenery would be exactly what he needs to get back to his sharpshooting self.
Upgrading at Center
It could be tough to pry Jonas Valalciunas away from the Grizzles, who are currently fighting for a playoff spot, but Langford and a first could prove to be enough to get it done. Memphis is still a very young team and building towards the future has to be their top priority. Valanciunas had 16 points and 19 rebounds against the Celtics on Monday, 1 shy of his season-high. His offensive skillset and rebounding should provide a nice boost for the Celtics who lack a high-end starting center.