When the 2019-20 NBA season is officially over, the Boston Celtics are expected to continue their search for a defensive-minded big man. They may have performed well in the regular season, despite not having a starting-caliber center on their roster, but their major frontcourt weakness was exposed when they faced the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, where they ended up being eliminated in six games. In the past months, the Celtics have already been linked to several big men who are expected to be available on the trade market in the 2020 offseason, including Myles Turner of the Indiana Pacers.
In a recent article, Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report created a list of trades to get every eliminated playoff team to the 2021 NBA Finals. For the Celtics, Buckley suggested they could offer a package that includes Gordon Hayward and the No. 14 and No. 16 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft to the Pacers in exchange for Turner, Jeremy Lamb, and Doug McDermott. Before the deal pushes through, Hayward would first need to opt into the final year of his contract with the Celtics.
If the proposed scenario becomes a reality, it would help both teams in filling up the needs to improve on their roster. Though he’s not on the same level as Joel Embiid, Anthony Davis, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Nikola Jokic, Turner would still be an incredible addition to the Celtics. As Buckley noted, Turner wouldn’t just address Boston’s need for a starting-caliber center, but he would also give them a defensive-minded big man who is capable of spacing the floor.
“He’s not only a major defensive deterrent at the rim (career 2.6 blocks per 36 minutes), and he moves well enough to handle most perimeter switches,” Buckley wrote, referring to Turner.
“He also doesn’t gunk up the offensive spacing, since he’s a career 35.7 percent shooter from distance. He’s not a star, but the Shamrocks are covered in that department by Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the latter two of whom are still working toward their peaks.”
Aside from Turner, Boston would also be receiving two role players in McDermott and Lamb. McDermott could boost the Celtics’ wing depth and give them another reliable three-point shooter, while Lamb could provide some help in terms of bench scoring.
Meanwhile, for the Pacers, the potential deal would allow them to address the logjam in their frontcourt while acquiring an established veteran in Hayward and a couple of first-round picks. Hayward has yet to regain his All-Star form, but he’s already showing major improvement with his game. If he managed to bring back his old self, he could help the Pacers make a deep playoff run next season.