Looking back on the offseason that Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics put together, the franchise has to be very excited about the upcoming 2016-17 NBA season. It has been awhile since the Celtics were viewed as a top contender in the Eastern Conference, but they are back to that point. They should finish as one of the top four teams in the conference if they play up to their potential.
It has been a long road back into contention, but head coach Brad Stevens has led his team to the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. Boston has been bounced out of the postseason in the first round both of those years, but they are headed in the right direction.
As ESPN originally reported, the Celtics were able to sign star big man Al Horford in free agency this offseason to a four-year, $113 million contract. That move alone has made the Celtics a threat to be reckoned with in the conference.
Boston still has a few areas of need that they should try to address ahead of the NBA season. They need to bring in another scorer in the backcourt to compliment star point guard Isaiah Thomas. There is one name in particular that would make perfect sense for them at the shooting guard position.
According to a report from Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, the Indiana Pacers have shopped Monta Ellis around in trade talks this offseason. They haven’t received much interest from teams around the league, but the Celtics should contact Larry Bird and see what they can do to acquire Ellis.
Was told they shopped Monta Ellis but found little interest... https://t.co/LwClAdGdqQ— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) July 18, 2016
Last season with the Pacers, Ellis ended up averaging 13.8 points, 4.7 assists, and 3.3 rebounds per game. He shot 42.7 percent from the field and knocked down 30.9 percent of his three-point shots. Those numbers were viewed as a major disappointment by the Pacers and their fan base, but his game didn’t fit into the role that head coach Frank Vogel put him in.
Now that the Pacers have replaced Vogel with a much better offensive mind in Nate McMillan, there is hope that Ellis will turn things around in Indiana this coming season.
Ellis would fit alongside Thomas perfectly in the Celtics’ backcourt. Stevens would be able to use Ellis as a slasher and extra ball-handler to take pressure off of his star point guard. The veteran shooting guard wouldn’t return to being a 30-point threat each and every night, but he would have some big games.
Perhaps the biggest improvement obvious in Ellis’ game last season was his willingness to make plays for teammates. He was not a selfish player, as many have given him the reputation of being.
If the Celtics were to make a trade for Ellis, it would be interesting to see what pieces they would have to give up.
More than likely, Bird would be looking to bring in a replacement at the shooting guard position. He could ask for Avery Bradley, although that doesn’t seem to be a terribly likely option. Marcus Smart might be the most likely trade chip that the Pacers could have an interest in acquiring.
All of that being said, it will be interesting to see what ends up happening throughout the remainder of the NBA offseason. Boston is still scouring the trade and free agency wires. Ainge is an aggressive general manager, and if he thinks a player like Ellis would improve their team, he will make a move for them.
Expect to see the Pacers entertain any trade offers that come their way for Ellis. They are not desperate to trade him by any stretch of the imagination, but they will not turn down a good offer for him if one comes around.
Do you think Monta Ellis would be a good fit for the Boston Celtics? What do you think would be a fair return for the Pacers? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Photo by R Brent Smith/AP Images]