Since losing Al Horford in the 2019 free agency, the Boston Celtics have been active on the trade market searching for a defensive-minded big man. Though they currently have Enes Kanter, Daniel Theis, and Robert Williams III manning the center position, none of them could fill the hole that Horford left on the defensive end of the floor. The Celtics may be currently doing well in the 2019-20 NBA season, but they are still expected to continue finding a better center this fall.
One of the most realistic targets for the Celtics in the 2020 offseason is Myles Turner of the Indiana Pacers. With the emergence of Domantas Sabonis in Indiana, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Pacers decide to make Turner available on the trading block this fall. However, in order to bring Turner to Boston, Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report believes the Celtics would need to sacrifice either Marcus Smart or Gordon Hayward, for salary-matching purposes.
“If Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward were funneling perimeter drivers toward Myles Turner, Boston’s defense could be even more daunting. Turner’s ability to pull bigs out of the paint on the other end would also open up driving lanes for those scorers. The problem, of course, is what it would take to get Turner. Marcus Smart’s deal is plenty tradable, but he’s been the emotional fulcrum of the team for years. Hayward is another possibility, but then salary matching becomes a bit trickier, and one of Boston’s biggest strengths is its ability to play largely positionless basketball.”
Parting ways with Smart or Hayward would undeniably be a tough decision for the Celtics, but sacrificing either of them could be worth it if it means acquiring a player like Turner. At 24, he perfectly fits the timeline of Boston’s franchise cornerstones Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Not only would he give them a defensive-minded big man, he could also help them further improve their offensive efficiency that currently ranks No. 5 in the league, scoring 110.4 points per 100 possessions, per ESPN.
Turner is a reliable scoring option both inside the paint and on the perimeter. Having a floor-spacing big man like him would benefit Tatum, Brown, and Kemba Walker the most since it would make it easier for them to penetrate to the basket or kick the ball out when they are trapped by the opposing team’s defense.
Being traded to the Celtics would also be beneficial for Turner. Aside from being guaranteed a starting role and more playing time, teaming up with Tatum, Brown, and Walker would give him a realistic chance of winning his first NBA championship title.