NBA rumors are swirling regarding the Boston Celtics and their interest in Milwaukee Bucks big man Greg Monroe. Are the Celtics closing in on acquiring their second low-post starter this offseason? They do not call them NBA rumors for nothing.
The Morning Ledger is reporting that the Celtics and Bucks may have had discussions about a five-player swap. According to this NBA rumor, the Celtics would agree to send Amir Johnson, Jonas Jerebko, and Marcus Smart to the Bucks. To complete their end of the deal, the Bucks would ship out Greg Monroe and Jabari Parker.
The deal makes for an interesting trade on paper, but does it make sense for either team in the grand scheme of things?
The Celtics have searched high and low for star players to add to their nucleus that is spearheaded by diminutive point guard Isaiah Thomas. The Celtics were the winners of the Al Horford sweepstakes (courtesy of Fox Sports) in free agency.
Horford told the Atlanta Journal Constitution why playing for the Celtics was an attractive option.
“It wasn’t an easy decision for me but I think at the end Boston just felt it was the best fit for me when looking at everything from their players top to bottom, the amount of players they had and the potential there.”
The Celtics become less attractive as an option if they were to trade guard Marcus Smart without getting a guard in return.
Also, the odds are great that the Bucks will not trade Jabari Parker in the deal. Despite getting some salary cap relief from a Greg Monroe trade, losing Parker would hurt. He has star potential, as does Smart, but this deal is lopsidedly in the Celtics’ favor.
If there is some truth to the NBA rumors regarding their interest in Greg Monroe, the Celtics want to make additions to the top of their roster. Monroe is not an NBA superstar player. Some would argue about the prospects of him being a star.
Monroe would make for a solid fit with the Celtics. If Monroe was playing for an NBA franchise with a higher profile and prestige more people would think of him as a player on the verge of stardom. Another knock on Greg Monroe is that his game is not the flashiest.
No, he does not air a game out with deft three-point shooting. And when he dunks a basketball there no burst of ferocity, or a yell that would immediately capture the attention of fans. Greg Monroe is simply a solid NBA player. He scores, rebounds, and defends.
That is what the Boston Celtics need, solid NBA players.
Speaking of solid players, the Bucks have one who can possibly be had in a trade that is a better fit for the Celtics.
Milwaukee Bucks’ swingman Khris Middleton is the name to watch.
Greg Monroe and Al Horford are similar players. They both can stretch out and shoot. The exception is that Horford has the edge in terms of range. The Celtics are better of pairing Horford with a bruising low-post presence. The Celtics need someone who does not mind battling for boards, but not shots. With this in mind, Amir Johnson is the idea player Horford should be next to in the frontcourt.
To add, Johnson runs the floor well with the Celtics. Monroe is not as quick, and is better suited for a slow-it-down offensive team such as the Miami Heat.
The Celtics’ biggest enemy was outside shooting. Can the Celtics convince the Bucks to part with Khris Middleton instead?
Middleton would have received NBA All-Star consideration last season had the Bucks played up to their expectations. Because the Bucks did not, they want to save money and have some cap flexibility in the next couple of seasons.
In trading Khris Middleton to the Celtics, the Bucks would be creating an opportunity for Jabari Parker to play more.
The ideal trade between the Celtics and Bucks would be Khris Middleton for guard Avery Bradley and forward Jonas Jerebko. This trade between the Celtics and Bucks works in the ESPN trade machine and can be viewed here. The Celtics would have to include one of their first-round draft picks from next season, doing so without having to include the one they will receive from Brooklyn.
The deal works for both the Celtics and Bucks.
Middleton gives the Celtics more size in the backcourt and the ability to matchup with the bigger perimeter players in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics also get to keep Smart, thus saving their guard rotation.
The Bucks get the flexibility they need, plus a defensive-minded guard who can play at the point in a pinch. For an additional reward, the Bucks would have two first-round picks in a deep 2017 NBA draft. That is enough to jumpstart the franchise once again, or leverage the picks for a veteran star.
Everyone is watching out for the Boston Celtics to go after Milwaukee Bucks’ center Greg Monroe, but the focus should be on guard Khris Middleton.
[Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images]