While the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat are engaging in an intense battle in the 2020 NBA Finals, several crazy trade ideas have started surfacing in the league. These include a blockbuster deal that would send Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic to the Boston Celtics this fall. In the scenario proposed by Andrew Hughes of Fansided’s Hardwood Houdini, the Celtics would send a package that includes Kemba Walker, Gordon Hayward, a 2020 first-round pick, and a 2021 first-round pick to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Lillard, Nurkic, Trevor Ariza, and Rodney Hood.
If the Celtics were presented with such an offer in the 2020 offseason, it’s not hard to see the team’s President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Danny Ainge immediately pulling the trigger. Though it would cost two important members of their core and a couple of first-rounders, Hughes believes that the proposed deal would still be a no-brainer for the Celtics.
“If you are going to lose an All-NBA point guard, why not replace him with another? That has been the C’s motto the last five years, having gone from IT to Irving to Walker in a span of three summers. Damian Lillard is one of the few true upgrades available on the market, and having two closers (along with Jayson Tatum) would vault Boston into the conversation of who the top dog in the east is. Giving up Gordon Hayward and a pair of draft picks helps get the deal done, and the team would bring on a stud center in Jusuf Nurkic.”
Acquiring Lillard and Nurkic from the Trail Blazers would dramatically change the fate of the Celtics in the 2020-21 NBA season. Adding them to the core of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart would undoubtedly make the Celtics the No. 1 favorite to represent the Eastern Conference in the finals next year. Compared to Walker, Lillard is clearly the much better point guard. This season, Lillard posted career-bests of 30.0 points and 8.0 assists while shooting 46.3 percent from the field and 40.1 percent from beyond the arc, per ESPN.
Dame’s arrival in Boston would force Tatum and Brown to make certain adjustments with their game, but if they begin to mesh well on the court, the Celtics could become nearly unstoppable on the offensive end of the floor. Meanwhile, Nurkic would immediately address the Celtics’ need for a starting-caliber center. Though he’s yet to unlock his three-point shooting skills, Nurkic is a dominant force under the basket and a quality rim protector.
Ariza and Hood aren’t just included in the deal for salary-matching purposes. When healthy, both veterans could provide a veteran presence in the locker room and become essential members of the Celtics’ second unit next year.