Since the departure of Al Horford in the 2019 NBA free agency, rumors continue to swirl around the Boston Celtics who are reportedly seeking improvements in their frontcourt. The Celtics may have signed Enes Kanter to replace Horford, but most people don’t see him filling the hole he left on the defensive end of the floor. Days before the start of the 2019-20 NBA season, the Celtics are being linked to several defensive-minded big men who are or will be available on the trade market before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline, including Domantas Sabonis of the Indiana Pacers.
According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, with a rookie contract extension not in place, the Pacers have started engaging in trade talks involving Domantas Sabonis. Sabonis has been impressive in the games he played last season, averaging 14.1 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 2.9 assists while shooting 59.0 percent from the field and 52.9 percent from beyond the arc. However, it’s very noticeable that he and Myles Turner can’t coexist in the Pacers’ frontcourt.
Given the issues in their frontcourt, Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston believes that the Celtics should be intrigued by the idea of trading for Domantas Sabonis. The potential arrival of Sabonis won’t give the Celtics an immediate Joel Embiid/Giannis Antetokounmpo stopper, but he would definitely boost their performance on the defensive end of the floor. Aside from giving them a defensive-minded big man, Sabonis would also improve the Celtics’ floor-spacing.
However, despite their need for a frontcourt boost, Forsberg doesn’t see the Celtics making a godfather offer to the Pacers just to acquire Domantas Sabonis. The Pacers would undeniably love to acquire Jaylen Brown in exchange for Sabonis, but the Celtics aren’t expected to include former No. 3 overall pick in the potential deal. As Forsberg noted, the Celtics’ trade package centered on Romeo Langford “would seemingly intrigue” the Pacers.
“Trying to build a trade package that might interest the Pacers without Brown is a bit more daunting. Celtics first-round pick Romeo Langford, an Indiana native who played at Indiana University and was the state’s Mr. Basketball in 2018, would seemingly intrigue the Pacers and makes the money work in a deal. Still, the Pacers would seemingly be seeking an immediate impact player and/or some of Boston’s future first-round picks, which might be more than Boston is willing to pay given the commitment it would take to maintain Sabonis.”
Though a straight swap between Domantas Sabonis and Romeo Langford would work financially, it is highly unlikely that a deal would take place between the Pacers and the Celtics anytime soon. As of now, the Pacers must still be gauging the market for Sabonis to see if there will be NBA teams who are willing to pay their asking price for the veteran big man.