Since the 2019 NBA offseason, rumors have been swirling around the Boston Celtics, who are expected to find Al Horford’s replacement before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline. Though the Celtics have Enes Kanter, Daniel Theis, and Robert Williams, none of them could fill the hole Horford left on the defensive end of the floor. As of now, the Celtics are being linked to several defensive-minded big men, including Myles Turner of the Indiana Pacers.
According to ClutchPoints, the potential arrival of Turner to Boston would make the Celtics a more dangerous team in the 2019-20 NBA season. Having a stretch five and a quality rim protector like Turner would further improve the Celtics’ performance on both ends of the floor.
“For the Celtics to take the next step as a team, acquiring a stretch five that can effectively protect the paint would be ideal. One option that meets that description is Indiana Pacers center, Myles Turner. While he wouldn’t bring the passing impact that Horford provided, Turner is a dynamic paint protector and can space the floor. For reference, Turner led the NBA in blocked shots while shooting 38.8 percent from beyond the arc in 2018-19. He also has greater offensive upside that has yet to be tapped into as a result of being held to a usage rate below 20% since his rookie year — at a career-low 18% in 2019-20.”
Turner would undeniably be an incredible replacement for Horford, giving the Celtics an All-Star caliber big man who can knock down shots from beyond the arc and is a dominant force on the defensive end of the floor. This season, he’s averaging 12.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks while shooting 49.4 percent from the field and 44.1 percent from beyond the arc. At 23, Turner perfectly fits the timeline of the Celtics’ cornerstones Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
As of now, the Pacers are yet to make Turner officially available on the trading block, but with his inability to coexist with Domantas Sabonis in their frontcourt, most people see him as a potential trade candidate before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline. However, bringing Turner to Boston would require the Celtics to meet a relatively high asking price.
That will be a little bit challenging, especially after the Celtics made it clear that they have no intention of trading Gordon Hayward, Marcus Smart, Kemba Walker, Tatum, and Brown. However, ClutchPoints believes that the Celtics could acquire Turner without sacrificing any of their core players. Aside from using Theis and Kanter’s contracts to match Turner’s salary, ClutchPoints suggested that the Celtics could also use the Memphis Grizzlies’ 2020 first-round pick as a “foundation” of the trade package that they would offer to the Pacers.
The Grizzlies’ first-round selection would be intriguing for the Pacers, especially now that Memphis is struggling to win games in the 2019-20 NBA season. Aside from addressing the major problem in their frontcourt, the potential deal with the Celtics would also enable the Pacers to add a young and promising talent that could help them return to title contention.