The absence of the NBA is eased a little during an Olympics summer. We may not see our favorite teams in action in August, but many of our favorite players are representing their countries. This year, Boston doesn’t have any representatives in the Games—although Marcus Smart did train with Team USA in Vegas for the Select Team—but there could be a future Celtic playing right now.
In ESPNBoston’s Celtics Summer Forecast, writers were asked “Who is the next superstar the Celtics should pursue via in-season trade or free agency next summer?” The usual cast of characters were mentioned: DeMarcus Cousins, Jimmy Butler, and Blake Griffin. Butler and Cousins have been two of the more productive players for the red, white, and blue and popular targets for Celtics fans still waiting for fireworks. However, one CelticsBlogger thinks that Ainge should find a way to snag another Olympian who isn’t on Team USA:
Bill Sy, CelticsBlog (Nikola Jokic): He's not a star, but Jokic did finish third behind Karl-Anthony Towns and Kristaps Porzingis for Rookie of the Year last season. Jokic is a nifty passer and low-post offensive threat who can shoot from the outside. Unfortunately, he's probably untouchable. But if there's a deal where the Celtics have to eat some contracts or give up first-round picks, he's worth it.
Jokic is currently repping his home country of Serbia. He hasn’t put up big numbers in Rio, but Jokic was named MVP of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament after averaging nearly 18/8/3 over four games. Check out these highlights from last season:
He’s part Bird, part McHale. Odds are, there’s no way Ainge can pry away one of the cornerstones of the Nuggets rebuild, but if there was a GM-ing competition in the Summer Games, Danny would always be in contention for gold.