After an electric overtime win against the Pistons, Jayson Tatum expresses his focus for the Celtics this season: a championship.
The Boston Celtics have just a little over a week to execute a trade before next Thursday’s deadline at 3 p.m. ET.
Boston doesn’t need to make many improvements to a talented roster that has delivered an NBA-best 37-11 record going into Thursday’s showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers. But with the Celtics being in prime position to capture Banner 18, president of basketball operations Brad Stevens certainly will look to make any upgrade he can, even if it’s just on the margins.
The Celtics don’t have a glaring area of need. Perhaps more center depth in case of injuries to Kristaps Porzingis and an aging Al Horford? Or maybe even another wing or guard that can give the Celtics a better jolt off the bench?
Boston certainly won’t be a part of any big-time trades at the deadline, but that’s not its goal after landing Porzingis and Jrue Holiday in the offseason. The Celtics could just look to make a minor move and use the $6.2 million trade exception from the Grant Williams deal to make it happen.
With all of that, here are four realistic trade options for the Celtics as the deadline quickly approaches.
Naji Marshall, New Orleans Pelicans, Forward
The Celtics got an up-close view of Marshall when the Pelicans visited Boston earlier this week. The 6-foot-7, 220-pound forward notched four points, four rebounds and three assists against the Celtics.
The 26-year-old is in the final year of a four-year contract, which pays him $1.9 million this season, per Spotrac. He would fit into the Williams trade exception, which could entice the Celtics to pull the trigger on acquiring him.
On the floor, Marshall averages a modest 7.4 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. But given the brand of basketball Joe Mazzulla likes the Celtics to play, the biggest thing to look at is Marshall’s 3-point percentage. The Xavier product made good strides in that department this season, shooting 37.2% from beyond the arc, which is far better than the 30.3% he shot last season.
Isaiah Stewart, Detroit Pistons, Center
Stewart feels like he would be a tremendous addition to Boston’s bench with the endless motor and toughness he plays with. The 6-foot-8, 250-pound center scores 11 points per game and can be a factor on the boards by averaging 6.8 rebounds. He would also help take pressure off Horford and Porzingis and give the Celtics another big man bench option besides Luke Kornet.
The Pistons own the worst record in the league at 6-40 and with the development of 20-year-old Jalen Duren, Detroit could look to unload Stewart to help facilitate its rebuild.
The only issue in trying to trade for Stewart, who is just 22 years old, is he signed a four-year, $60 million contract extension this past offseason. He would have been easier for the Celtics to obtain if that extension never happened.
John Konchar, Memphis Grizzlies, Guard
There’s a common theme with these Celtics trade targets: Try to pick off pieces from the worst teams in the league since they will be more willing to part with them.
Konchar is the furthest thing from a high-profile name. He has spent the last five seasons with the Grizzlies, seeing limited action and not doing a whole ton with it. He is averaging 3.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game this year.
The Celtics might believe they can help Konchar find his outside shot again. He shot 41.3% from beyond the arc two seasons ago but saw a dramatic decrease this season by hitting just 30.1% on two 3-point attempts per game. Konchar’s 6-foot-5 frame is an added plus and his 0.9 blocks per game is one of the top marks among guards.
Tyus Jones, Washington Wizards, Guard
It would take more for the Celtics to get Jones than probably any other player on this list, but it could be worth it. The 27-year-old is putting together the best season of his nine-year NBA career, averaging a career-best 12.4 points and 6.3 assists for the lowly Wizards.
Jones could give the Celtics an offensive spark off the bench that they haven’t consistently gotten from Payton Pritchard. He could be a liability on the defensive end, but Mazzulla certainly cares more about what happens on the other end of the court.
Jones being a Duke product shouldn’t be dismissed, either, since Boston’s best player went to that same school.