What should the Celtics do at the trade deadline? Stand pat, minor moves only, or make a “go for it” trade (sacrificing some assets for a Finals run)?
Alex Kungu: The Celtics are in a perfect position where they seem to be poised to battle out the Raptors for the top spot in the East, while understanding that they still have a superstar rehabbing. The real question should be this, can you beat the Warriors? If so, you go for it. If not, there’s no need to make any drastic moves, this roster is probably good enough to get into us into the Finals why not get your young guys that type of experience?
Michael DePrisco: I think the Celtics are definitely poised to make a Finals run. Do I think they can beat the Warriors? Probably not, but this team seems to match up well with Golden State so I think it would be in Ainge’s best interest to give this group a shot.
What the Celtics should try to do is have their cake and eat it too. Go for Evans to give the bench more scoring, but don’t give up Marcus Smart or a first round pick.
If they can’t get those type of players for a favorable deal than I’d be fine with them sticking with what they have. Greg Monroe is a nice addition that will help Boston get out of the east so it’s not like they did nothing.
Matt Chin: Adding another playmaking dribble-penetrator to the second unit could solidify the Celtics as the Eastern Conference’s top contender. Now that Lou Williams is off of the table, Danny Ainge’s focus should be on Tyreke Evans.
No one wants to give Chris Wallace a first-round pick for Evans. With other suitors, Philadelphia, Miami, and Denver, slotted closer to the lottery, Ainge can wait to see if someone else blinks. My best offer would be a second-rounder, developmental pieces, and Larkin’s expiring money. As a backup plan, I would maintain knowledge on the market value for players like Jordan Clarkson, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Marco Belinelli. I’m not interested in an Emmanuel Mudiay project, especially if it means losing Marcus Smart, but Will Barton would pique my interest.Alex Kungu: Initially I agreed with going for a player like Evans, but now I hesitate. Semi Ojeleye looks like a real player that can defend all 5 positions and provide spacing. Brown and Tatum are obviously centerpieces that they will want to play big minutes. Morris, for all his flaws, still has value as a scorer and underrated defender who has been a net positive since returning on Christmas, and then you have guys like Theis, Rozier, and Smart who all need roles. If a guy like Evans isn’t going to get us over the Warriors, then isn’t it better to give those minutes to young players who are cheaper and will be getting invaluable experience?
Alex Kungu: What does a realistic deal for either of those guys look like? Memphis has reportedly been asking for a first for Evans and Clippers are both shopping Williams but working on a contract extension. What should we be willing to give up?
Keith Smith: The Celtics can certainly make a Finals run. Toronto is right there too, as both look to take down a vulnerable Cavaliers team. Can Boston actually win the title? Not unless the Warriors suffer an injury. Or...if the Celtics add some talent. Greg Monroe is already on the way. Maybe Tyreke Evans or Lou Williams will join him. I’m not sold either one pushes Boston over a healthy Golden State team. But you want to be there just in case. Adding another scorer to come off the bench would make the Celtics the favorites in the Eastern Conference. And it won’t cost them all that much. That is the exact type of move Boston should make at the deadline.
Bobby Manning: Stand pat. I know this team’s edging closer to Finals-level status as the Cavaliers sink, and the team needs a bench upgrade but the cost will be too high in my opinion. If, as reports say, Celtics would flip Marcus Smart to acquire a first rounder to then flip in a deal for Tyreke Evans, that’s too much in my opinion. Marcus Smart, for all the pessimism on him at the moment is still assisting and defending at the highest rate of his career with a 22.9 assist percentage and 1.9 defensive box plus minus. This summer is the time to move Smart on a likely excellent new contract. As for now, I’d like to see the Celts think outside the box for an addition (someone nobody has been talking about) or stand pat. The buyout market might provide a better bargain.
Bill Sy: The Celtics can beat the Warriors this season in the Finals. My sorta blanket philosophy for “Golden State vs. the field” is that the league has caught up with the Warriors. The majority of NBA teams have shifted to the modern game and the Celtics by virtue of having the league’s best defense is way ahead of the curve. They can beat them now and more importantly, they can beat them down the road.
With that in mind, I’m more convinced now that Danny doesn’t make a move at the deadline. Evans and Williams would be great additions, but I don’t think Ainge is going to sacrifice assets to add them, particularly Smart. Think what you will about his value, but because of his restricted free agency, the Celtics can match anything. Not only is it a depleted free agency class, but he does give you a valuable outlet as a sign-and-trade.
Simon Pollock: Ditto, Bill.
I said it before the Celtics earmarked the DPE for Greg Monroe, and I’ll say it again: don’t break up the band. Did you know that Boston and Golden State have split their regular season games since the 2015-2016 season? This team can already beat the Warriors. The series is tied at 3-3. Imagine that.
Monroe is only going to help—he’s a veteran big who can pass, score, and rebound coming off the bench. Why bother making a move that would break up the seemingly very cohesive environment that Monroe is entering? If the Celtics need anything right now, it’s Smart’s defense back on the floor. Would Kyle Lowry have torched Boston last night if the Celtics’ favorite bulldog defender was available?
Stay put, Danny. Save those assets, focus on a postseason that’s as impressive as this regular season, and kick the what-to-do-about-Smart-in-free-agency can down the road.
Chris Grenham: A finals run is definitely in the cards for this Celtics team, which makes me lean towards some activity at the deadline. They’ve already added rebounding via Greg Monroe and I think another scoring punch off the bench would be advantageous. If they can get Tyreke Evans, great. If not, it’s not the end of the world. I still don’t think they can beat Golden State, but adding another scorer would certainly make them the favorites in the East.