Although the Boston Celtics took a massive hit this off-season after losing All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Al Horford in free agency to division rivals, they still have the opportunity to further strengthen their roster through trade.
Since 2013, General Manager Danny Ainge has acquired a multitude of assets, some being first-round picks and another’s being young players with potential. With the Celtics already having an incredibly young roster, including three rookies for this upcoming season, it would be smart for Ainge to finally dish out his assets for proven talent.
One possible team that the Celtics could do business with is the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Timberwolves were looking to trade for a great player to pair with All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns. However, the team missed out on top targets, D’Angelo Russell and Russell Westbrook, who were both traded to other teams. With little trading assets, outside of Jarrett Culver, the sixth overall pick in last month’s draft, the Timberwolves are unlikely to bring in any sort of talent to play with Towns.
Towns had signed a five-year contract extension with the Timberwolves worth over $158 million and is locked up through the 2023-24 season. At 23, he has yet to enter his prime. However, with the Timberwolves having a very weak team that is unlikely to compete or even make the playoffs anytime soon, Towns may become unhappy with his current situation. It was rumored that Towns requested his team to bring in an All-Star point guard, but as mentioned before the Timberwolves do not look primed to do so. Perennial underachiever Andrew Wiggins and his large contract also limit Minnesota from making big moves in free agency. A possible situation is that the Timberwolves bite the bullet, trade Towns, and enter full rebuilding mode.
The Celtics would have to give up a lot to pry Towns away from Minnesota, but they have the means to do so. Towns would make the Celtics an immediate title contender and fill a weak frontcourt. What would the Celtics have to part with though?
Speculation is that the Timberwolves would ask for either Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum as the centerpiece of the deal. Obviously, the Celtics would have to include much more than that for a player of Towns’ caliber. Here’s what I think a possible deal could look like:
Celtics get: Karl Anthony Towns
Timberwolves get: Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Robert Williams III, Semi Ojeleye, 2020 Grizzlies first-round pick (top six protected and unprotected in 2021 if fails to convey), 2020 Bucks first-round pick (top-seven protected and unprotected in 2021 if fails to convey), 2021 Celtics first-round pick (unprotected), 2022 first-round pick swap, 2023 Celtics first-round pick (unprotected), 2024 first-round pick swap
In total, the Timberwolves would be receiving four first-rounders and two first-round pick swaps along with young talent from the Celtics. This would be a great haul for both teams. Brown will be a restricted free agent next year so the Timberwolves will have his rights and can re-sign him long term, has shown his massive potential although he has been inconsistent at times. Smart is locked up on a great contract through the 2021-22 season and is one of the best role players and defenders in the NBA. Williams is young with loads of promise. Even though he is raw at the moment, his athleticism is elite and he’s played well when given the chance. Ojeyele is just a filler but has developed a better jump shot and is a solid defender himself, often having the duty of guarding Giannis Antetokounmpo when playing him.
Perhaps the most valuable piece of this trade is the Memphis pick. The Grizzlies are rebuilding now and are expected to be one of the worst teams in the league for the next few years. The Timberwolves could either get a mid to late lottery pick in the deeply talented 2020 NBA Draft or even a high lottery pick in the 2021 draft.
If the Celtics trade for Towns, they will be a much better team. Towns playing beside Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker could do some real damage in the NBA and could eventually result in a Celtics title. The Celtics would most likely fill out the rest of their roster with veteran’s minimum free agents, some options being Kenneth Faried, Dwight Howard, Jamal Crawford, Carmelo Anthony, and Justin Holiday, among others.
What do you think about this deal? Would the Celtics give up too much? Would they have to give up more? I think this could be a win-win scenario.