Since the 2019 NBA offseason, rumors have been circulating that the Boston Celtics are searching for a defensive-minded big man who could fill the hole Al Horford left on their team. In the past months, the Celtics have already been linked to several veteran big men who are expected to be available on the trade market before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline. According to Sean Deveney of Sporting News, one of the potential trade targets for the Celtics is LaMarcus Aldridge of the San Antonio Spurs.
As they continue to struggle in the 2019-20 NBA season, there are speculations that the Spurs may consider a huge roster overhaul and trade some of their veterans, including Aldridge, before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline. Aldridge would undeniably be a good replacement for Horford, giving the Celtics a defensive-minded big man who has plenty of playoff experience.
Aside from further improving their defensive efficiency, Aldridge would also give the Celtics an incredible low-post scorer who, at times, could be a threat from beyond the arc. In 14 games he played this season, the 34-year-old center/power forward is averaging 18.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.9 blocks while shooting 52.0 percent from the field and 31.8 percent from the three-point range.
Once the Spurs officially make him available on the trading block, trading for Aldridge would make sense for the Celtics. However, as Deveney noted, there are some risks in trading for Aldridge. Also, in the potential deal with the Spurs involving Aldridge, the Celtics would be needing to part ways with Gordon Hayward.
“Aldridge makes some sense, but he is 34 and has slowed a bit,” Deveney wrote. “The Celtics almost certainly would need to trade Gordon Hayward and take back some salary to make an Aldridge deal work and they’d be reluctant to do that.”
Trading Hayward for Aldridge is undeniably a tough decision for the Celtics. Before suffering an injury, Hayward has been posting incredible numbers and starting to live up to expectations from the massive contract he signed with the Celtics in the summer of 2017. In nine games he played this season, Hayward is averaging 18.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 4.1 assists while shooting 55.5 percent from the field and 43.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Aside from Aldridge, another potential trade target for the Celtics that Deveney mentioned in his article is Myles Turner of the Indiana Pacers. Compared to Aldridge, the 23-year-old Turner perfectly fits the timeline of the Celtics’ young core of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Unfortunately for the Celtics, Deveney revealed that even if the Pacers put Turner on the trading block, they are highly unlikely to trade him to an Eastern Conference team.