By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics have made their major acquisition of the summer of 2017. But Danny Ainge’s work is far from finished.
He’ll have to execute a trade or two just to create the necessary cap space to add Gordon Hayward. But after that — even with Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford, Hayward, and the last two No. 3 overall draft picks on the roster — he’ll have to do some roster building if he wants to truly give his team a chance to beat Cleveland in the East.
While the avenues to get to that point may be varied at this point in time, Yahoo’s Chris Mannix threw out on interesting option on Wednesday: Marc Gasol.
The 32-year-old has spent his entire NBA career of nine seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies. The 2012-13 Defensive Player of the Year is a three-time All-Star. He made the 2014-15 All-NBA First Team and the All-NBA Second Team in 2012-13.
Mannix explained that the Grizzlies may be in position to start something of a rebuild after a seventh-place finish in the West and a first-round playoff exit.
“One player worth keeping an eye on, two league executives told The Vertical: Memphis’ Marc Gasol. The Grizzlies lost Zach Randolph, Tony Allen could be next out the door, and if you were filling out your Western Conference playoff bracket today, Memphis probably wouldn’t be in it. Would the Grizz move the 32-year-old Gasol for a ready-made rebuilding package of players and picks? Would Boston – which has to be wary of putting together a team that would beat Cleveland but still get pulverized by Golden State – be interested? Again, worth watching.”
Ainge — as it’s well-known — currently owns a number of intriguing assets that could be available to a team, both in terms of NBA players and future draft picks. Considering Gasol has two seasons (plus a player option) left on his deal, it would likely take a moderate package of picks and players to entice Memphis to make such a move.
However, with a $22.6 million salary this season and $24.1 million on the books in 2018-19, there would be a ripple effect on the Celtics roster. Would such an acquisition prevent the team from signing Thomas long-term? Would the Celtics have to part with either Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum? Could Horford and his near-$30 million end up surprisingly getting sent out of Boston?
Such juggling is not easy, but it is what Ainge is faced with as the summer goes on.