Since losing Al Horford in the 2019 NBA free agency, rumors have been continuously swirling around the Boston Celtics, who are reportedly trading for a defensive-minded big man before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline. The Celtics have already been linked to several veteran centers, including Clint Capela of the Houston Rockets and Steven Adams of the Oklahoma City Thunder. However, in a Twitter post, John Karalis of MassLive suggested that the Celtics are better off with a cheaper trade target like Aron Baynes of the Phoenix Suns.
Karalis believes that the Celtics should think twice before going after the likes of Capela and Adams. Aside from their respective teams’ high asking prices, the Celtics would be needing to sacrifice several players to match the massive salaries of Capela and Adams. Compared to those two big men, Karalis believes that the Celtics could acquire Baynes from the Suns without giving up too many valuable trade assets.
“I’ve said this on podcasts & on YouTube live… but I’ll repeat it here,” Karalis wrote. “The Celtics do not need to make a trade for a center. The exception: if they can somehow get Aron Baynes back when Ayton comes off suspension. If they can get Baynes back without giving up too much, then yes, they should trade for Baynes. Otherwise, forget it. Anyone that can upgrade that position with any significance will likely cost too much. Salary matching rules would require Boston to give up a lot and create another problem by fixing whatever problem they have here.”
The Celtics definitely knew the player Karalis was suggesting them to target very well. Baynes played for the Celtics for two seasons before they traded him to the Suns for a 2020 first-round pick last July. However, compared to his two-year stint with the Celtics, the 32-year-old center is currently establishing a better performance on his new team.
Baynes is not only an incredible defender, but he also managed to turn himself into a reliable floor-spacer in Phoenix. In his first 11 games as a member of the Suns, Baynes is averaging 15.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.9 assists while shooting 57.1 percent from the field and 46.8 percent from beyond the arc. If the Suns make him available on the trade market, it makes a lot of sense for the Celtics to bring Baynes back to their roster.
However, with their current performance, it remains a big question mark if the Suns have any plan of moving Baynes before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline. Despite not having major improvements on their roster, the Suns are surprisingly off to a good start, currently sitting in the No. 5 spot in the Western Conference with a 7-4 record. If ever the Suns engage in a midseason trade, it would likely be a deal that would help them boost their chance of contending for the NBA championship title in the 2019-20 NBA season.