Would it even be an NBA deadline if the Celtics weren’t rumored to be making a thousand and a half different moves? With the deadline for players to exercise their player options having passed on Tuesday (except in the case of Gordon Hayward but we’ll get to that shortly) as well as the NBA draft being tonight, Wednesday the 18th, trade rumors were being thrown around left and right this past week. Obviously not all rumors are created equal, something posted by “Celticsfan2010” doesn’t hold the same weight as a rumor reported by Woj or Shams. Nevertheless, here are my thoughts on some rumors I’ve read involving the Celtics.
Rumor #1: James Harden to the Celtics
Houston has never shied away from making bold moves and with Harden and Westbrook expressing their displeasure with the team it looks like a trade is inevitable. The only problem is since both of them are under contract the Rockets have no reason to rush into a trade. The rumor is that the Celtics are looking to flip Kemba and Hayward for some young assets/draft picks in order to put together a package for Harden. I don’t see a world where the Rockets would take a trade package without JB being included so that is certainly a lot to give up.
I would personally pull the trigger on a deal like that if the Rockets are looking to trade Harden ASAP but I don’t get the sense that is what they are trying to do. I think it will benefit the Celtics if the Rockets wait and see what offers are out there. With Kemba and Hayward coming off injury I think their value will only go up once the season begins. In my ideal world we would be able to trade whatever young picks/players we can get for Hayward plus JB for Harden and keep Kemba. Overall, I think these rumors are very real but it is unlikely that we see a move made anytime soon.
Rumor #2: Hayward for Myles Turner swap
This is a common rumor thrown out there mostly because it makes some sense on the surface. The Celtics need to upgrade their center position and Turner is young and fits nicely alongside the Jays. It would be a homecoming for Hayward and he would slide into their lineup alongside Brogdon and Sabonis. The only problem is that Hayward is a legitimately good player while Turner in theory is a good player but that hasn’t translated well to the floor. Unless Indiana really values Hayward and is for some reason is willing to throw in 2 future first round picks I’m not interested in this deal.
Hayward is an easy target for Celtics and NBA fans to hate on but despite his injury history he is an extremely good player. As a fourth option last year he averaged 17 ppg on efficient shooting splits. The Celtics were able to get the deadline for Hayward pushed back to Thursday. In my mind, this greatly reduces the possibility that he signs elsewhere and leaves for nothing since he would have just opted out and became a free agent had enticing offers been available. I think he most likely is looking for a long term contract that might be less money per year while also staying on a contender. If that situation doesn’t present itself, he might opt into his last year of his contract and bet on himself to raise his value going into next offseason. Either situation works for the Celtics since their goal is to get the most back from him if he does end up leaving whether that is this offseason or flipping him to a contender at some point during the year.
But CJ you were just saying how good Hayward is why would the Celtics be looking to flip him? Simple, he’s a good player now but committing to him long term would seriously affect our cap flexibility moving forward. With the Jays being our core pieces, it is important to keep flexibility as we move towards them eventually hitting their primes and ultimately UFA. It’s a balancing act between fielding a team that can compete for a championship now as well as keeping flexibility moving forward. In my opinion, signing Hayward to a long term deal skews too much to the former.
Rumor #3: Celtics packaging their 3 first round picks to move up in the draft
It is pretty obvious that the Celtics aren’t going to add 3 rookies to this roster. If we are able to package all our picks and a young player or two to move to the 6-10 range, I would be all for it. This draft has no clear cut #1 guy but is very deep with solid prospects. There are some really good options to help fill our void at backup point guard and center that are very intriguing. If a deal like this doesn’t materialize look for the Celtics to trade the picks for either a veteran from a rebuilding team or for future first rounders. It goes without saying but the Celtics making at least a small draft day trade is all but a foregone conclusion.
Thank you for reading and let me know what you guys think of these rumors either in the comments below or hit me up on twitter @cameronjesson