After the Brooklyn Nets successfully formed their own "Big Three" of James Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant, most people are expecting the Boston Celtics to make a move that could strengthen their chance of fully dominating the Eastern Conference and winning the NBA championship title this season. Though Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are considered untouchables, the Celtics still have a plethora of trade assets that they could use to engage in a blockbuster deal before the 2021 trade deadline. One of the players that they could target on the market is veteran center Nikola Vucevic of the Orlando Magic.
In a recent article, Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report created a list of blockbuster deals that could create new title contenders before the 2021 trade deadline. For the Celtics to become a legitimate threat in the more competitive Eastern Conference, Hughes suggested that they should try bringing Vucevic to Boston. To acquire the veteran big man, the Celtics could offer the Magic a package that includes Marcus Smart, Payton Pritchard, Tristan Thompson, Robert Williams III, and an unprotected 2022 first-round pick.
Trading for Vucevic would undeniably be expensive, but Hughes believes that it would be worth it for the Celtics.
"To get him, the Celtics would need to surrender Marcus Smart, Payton Pritchard, Tristan Thompson (can't move until Feb. 28) and Robert Williams III, plus at least one unprotected first-rounder. That sounds like a lot, especially with Pritchard and Smart involved. But this raises the Celtics' offensive ceiling with a spacer and scorer at the 5 like they've never had before. Daniel Theis could slip into the reserve role for which he's better suited, still providing defensive optionality against the right matchups. Meanwhile, Vucevic could produce a supercharged version of the bygone Al Horford era with his high-volume scoring."
As Hughes noted, Vucevic would give Boston the type of big man that they have been missing since they parted ways with Al Horford. Unlike Thompson, Daniel Theis, and Williams III, Vucevic is capable of knocking down shots from beyond the arc. Sharing the court with a floor-spacing big man would be beneficial for Tatum, Brown, and Kemba Walker as it would make it easier for them to penetrate the basket or kick the ball out when they are trapped by the opposing team's defense.
Aside from his ability to space the floor, Vucevic is also a very reliable scoring option under the basket and a great rebounder. This season, he's averaging 23.3 points, 10.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.3 steals while shooting 50.9 percent from the field and 42.6 percent from the three-point range, per ESPN.
Vucevic may not have demanded a trade from the Magic, but he would definitely have no problem being sent to Boston before the 2021 trade deadline. Compared to the Magic, the Celtics have a better chance of making a deep playoff run and competing for the NBA championship title in the 2020-21 NBA season.