The Boston Celtics’ rumors are heating up just days after the team secured the No. 1 overall pick via the NBA’s Draft Lottery. With that top pick, most experts believe that Markelle Fultz from the Washington Huskies is the player to select based on his resume. However, there are those analysts, fans, and purported basketball experts that contend that the Celtics should focus more on upgrading their current roster by bringing another All-Star into the mix. That could include a player such as Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, Indiana’s Paul George, or even Utah’s Gordon Hayward, who may have the strongest possibility of donning the Celtics’ green jersey next season.
It had been speculated for quite some time that Boston might trade that No. 1 draft pick away prior to the NBA trade deadline. However, prior to the deadline, Boston merely had a chance of receiving the top pick at that time, so potential trade partners backed off. Now that the Celtics officially have that pick, it gives them much more leverage to pull off a deal. Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge seems as if he would have no qualms about continuing to explore a trade, although Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck seems more interested in the potential of a young talent who doesn’t cost as much as an All-Star veteran would right now.
As CSN-New England reported, Grousbeck discussed his stance on keeping that top pick rather than putting together a trade for a more established and costlier current star.
“If you can get a really good guy with this pick, you’ve got him. You can build with him. You can grow with him. You can coach him up. And you get to max money eventually – five, six years down the road – but it’s a totally different thing.”
“So, these picks are really valuable in today’s NBA. And so our intention would be to make the pick unless someone blows us away with an offer. That’s the way I would probably think about it.”
There are those Celtics fans who would much rather see the team go after a guy who can help the team right now, rather than a younger talent who needs some time to develop. As mentioned, the Celtics had been rumored to be looking at All-Star players, including Jimmy Butler of the Bulls and Paul George of the Pacers. Those two players could come at a high cost to bring to the team and might even require trading away future talent.
However, NESN reported that The Vertical‘s Chris Mannix suggested Gordon Hayward is the player the Celtics should seriously consider adding to their team.
“The next step for this team, that’s got to be Gordon Hayward. That is a guy who can help this team immediately. And that’s a guy I believe is Boston’s No. 1 target this summer.”
It could be deja vu for the Boston Celtics if they decide to keep that No. 1 NBA draft pick rather than trade it, and if they also manage to sign All-Star Gordon Hayward as a free agent from the Utah Jazz. The team held onto their high draft pick in last year’s draft and opted for California’s Jaylen Brown at the No. 3 spot, while also signing free agent Al Horford to the team from Atlanta.
Could they do the same by drafting Fultz from Washington and signing Hayward from the Jazz? Fultz is considered the most talented player in the draft and could be the “most ready” to contribute. He’d become an understudy to current All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas. The move would also bring Hayward to Boston to play for his former Butler Bulldogs coach Brad Stevens.
Hayward averaged 24.1 points in the postseason, which was above his regular season average of 21.9 per game. During the past season, he also averaged 5.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game and became a first-time NBA All-Star; selected as one of the West’s reserves. In the 2017 NBA Playoffs, Hayward and the Jazz found themselves swept by the Golden State Warriors. By looking at the available options, the 27-year-old star may decide it’s time to join Isaiah Thomas and the Celtics in the East to help them try to defeat Cleveland.
After being routed in Boston by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavs for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics may have shown just how far away they are from competing. While it could have been fatigue or a flat game after winning an emotional Game 7 over the Wizards in the previous round, it’s clear that Boston can use all the help it can get to overtake the Cavaliers. Stay tuned to see whether that involves adding a No. 1 draft pick such as Markelle Fultz and an All-Star player like Gordon Hayward.
[Featured Image by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images]