According to a recently published list of trade ideas, the Boston Celtics could potentially address their weakness at center without breaking the bank by acquiring Jarrett Allen from the Brooklyn Nets during the 2020 offseason.
As explained on Tuesday by Bleacher Report‘s Greg Swartz, the Celtics were only ranked 16th in defensive rebounding in the 2019-20 season, representing a “potential Achilles heel” for a team that has so much talent at the guard and forward positions. He added that centers such as Andre Drummond of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz might have an unusually high asking price, particularly if Boston has to include someone like Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown, or Marcus Smart in the trade package.
With this possibility in mind, Swartz recommended a deal that would send Allen to the Celtics in exchange for two young reserves — center/forward Robert Williams III and guard Carsen Edwards — and their 2021 lottery-protected first-round pick. He pointed out that the 22-year-old big man is still on his rookie contract and has the talent to start at the “five” position. It was also noted that Allen was occasionally — and “foolishly” — benched in favor of the much older DeAndre Jordan in the 2019-20 campaign, which could suggest the Nets might see him as a second-stringer going forward.
“If Brooklyn only values him as a backup, moving him now to avoid paying him in free agency next year makes sense. Williams would give the Nets a shot-blocker in training behind Jordan, Edwards has scoring potential off the bench, and the 2021 first-round pick would give Brooklyn some more trade ammo to go out and land a third star.
As shown on the Celtics’ page on Basketball-Reference, both Williams and Edwards saw limited playing time on a team that finished 48-24 in the regular season and placed third in the Eastern Conference. Williams averaged 5.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.2 blocked shots in just 13.4 minutes per game as the third-string center behind Daniel Theis and Enes Kanter. He also shot 72.7 percent from the field. Edwards, meanwhile, registered averages of 3.3 points and 1.3 rebounds in 9.5 minutes of action per contest.
In his third NBA season, Allen posted career-best averages of 11.1 points and 9.6 rebounds and added 1.3 blocks per game while starting 64 of 70 regular-season games for the Nets in 2019-20, according to his Basketball-Reference page. The former first-round pick out of Texas also connected on 64.9 percent of his field-goal attempts.
Allen isn’t the only affordable option that has been recommended as a potential offseason target for the Celtics. Earlier this week, Boston was among the teams mentioned by Bleacher Report as a possible destination for Dwight Howard, in the event he chooses not to re-sign with the Los Angeles Lakers.