The Boston Celtics will be heading into the 2020 offseason with the goal of addressing a major problem in their frontcourt. Currently, they have Enes Kanter, Daniel Theis, and Robert Williams III manning the center position, but none of them could fill the huge hole that Al Horford left on the defensive end of the floor. In the past few months, the Celtics have been linked to several defensive-minded big men expected to be available on the trade market this fall.
One of the most intriguing targets for the Celtics is former No. 6 overall pick Mo Bamba of the Orlando Magic. According to Mark Nilon of Fansided’s Hardwood Houdini, Bamba should be on the Celtics’ radar in the 2020 offseason. Bamba is yet to prove that he can immediately make an impact on a legitimate title contender. Yet, with Jonathan Isaac out for the remainder of the 2019-20 NBA season, Nilon thinks that the Celtics could have more opportunity to see what type of player they would get from the young big man.
“Though we here at the Houdini like to look at his per-36 minute averages and be mesmerized of a ‘what if’ scenario with Bamba in Beantown (averages 13.7 points, 11.7 boards, 3.3 blocks) it is accurate that these are merely hypothetical statistics. Because of the ridiculous talent residing within the Magic’s frontcourt over the past two seasons, the sophomore big has yet to even sniff such a minutes average. That said, now that power forward Jonathan Isaac is done for the year with a torn ACL, it likely means more action for Bamba which, in turn, leads to a larger sample size of play that can be analyzed by the C’s front office to see if he’d be a good trade target.”
If the Magic doesn’t demand much in return for their former lottery pick, trading for Bamba would make a lot of sense for the Celtics. He may not be ready yet for the starting role, but if he continues to develop his game, he would undoubtedly become a perfect replacement for Horford in their frontcourt. In his first two years in the league, the 22-year-old center didn’t only show his potential as a quality rim protector, but also his capability to knock down shots from beyond the arc, which is the No. 1 skill needed in the modern NBA.
In 109 games he played, he averaged 5.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks while shooting 47.1 percent from the field and 32.8 percent from the three-point range, per ESPN. If he manages to make himself fit with the Celtics and learns Coach Brad Stevens’ system, Bamba could form a lethal trio with Jayson and Jaylen Brown in Boston.
As of now, Orlando hasn’t shown a strong indication of making Bamba available on the trade market this fall. However, with the emergence of Nikola Vucevic in Orlando, most people believe that they are better off trading Bamba than wasting his talent sitting on the bench.