BOSTON (CBS) — The NBA Draft is just a few days away, and with four picks the Boston Celtics will be among the busiest teams come Thursday night.
There’s a lot of chatter around the Celtics and what they’ll do with their picks. With a roster full of young players it’s highly unlikely they’ll be making all four selections, so Danny Ainge will be in full “Trader Danny” mode in hopes of improving his roster for next year and beyond.READ MORE: Woman Wanted For Assault, Vandalism At Milford Burger King Drive-Thru
But what exactly are the Celtics going to do? With Ainge, you never know, but Brian Robb and Matt Geagan of CBS Boston try their best to figure out what’s going on inside the Celtics’ offices on Causeway Street.
Both agree that the Celtics should be looking to package their picks — either to trade up or for a veteran big-man.
Brian Robb: This is likely going to be one of the easier decisions of Ainge’s offseason. The Celtics should do their best to package their picks and move up. How high the Celtics can get in the lottery remains to be seen, but right now there isn’t a lot of room for additional youth on the roster. There’s a logjam in the backcourt already and the Celtics aren’t going to be able to upgrade the frontcourt at the spots they are selecting (No. 16 and No. 28).
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Quality over quantity is the name of the game for this young team right now, especially considering there is a truckload of draft picks waiting for this franchise over the next couple seasons. Even if it’s a minor move, like the team made in 2013 to select Kelly Olynyk at No. 13, that’s a better choice than staying put, right?
Matthew Geagan: I really hope the Celtics package up some of their picks, either from this year or in the near future, to move up. I’m also hoping they can do much better than another Kelly Olynyk, who I wouldn’t mind seeing as a part of any trade package.
But there’s no way Danny will be adding four rookies to the roster on Thursday, so a trade is as close to certain as you can get when it comes to Ainge.
Some fans have fallen in love with the thought of the C’s grabbing Bobby Portis or someone similar at 16, but they really need an impact big man, and they won’t find one outside of the Top 10 (and likely the Top 5). The rumor of them chatting with Charlotte for the No. 9 pick is intriguing, though with Danny it’s usually the deals we hear nothing about that end up getting done, so we’ll see.
What I’d really like them to do is trade out and grab a veteran, but those deals tend to take a lot of work (and a lot of assets) to get done. Ainge has the ammo to do so, and he’s never afraid to pull the trigger, but he’ll need a trade partner or two to pull it off, and not everyone is rushing to trade away a bonafide big man.
I definitely expect a trade or two from the Celtics come draft night, and hopefully one of them brings in a veteran big that can rebound and protect the paint. And hopefully, Olynyk is in any of these deals.
Robb: I like your idea about trading out and grabbing a veteran as a part of a larger deal. Most of the big men in this draft that could potentially go to Boston (if Ainge moves up) are still relatively young and raw (Myles Turner, Willie Cauley-Stein). They would be worth the gamble at the right spots, but I envision the Celtics making use of their trade exceptions this summer and draft day is the perfect time to do it.
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The Celtics still have two sizable exceptions ($12.9 million and $7.7 million) for the Rajon Rondo and Tayshaun Prince deals respectively.
You aren’t going to land a stud with the draft pick arsenal Ainge has compiled, but if some team wants to cut some salary and add a couple of future selections, Boston is a team they can look to. The Celtics took advantage of this situation last summer with the Tyler Zeller/Marcus Thornton trade in free agency and could be poised to do it again Thursday night.
Any guys that might catch your eye for a potential move like that?
Geagan: Those trade exceptions will hopefully be put to good use, and could be the key to getting a big-name player to Boston via trade.
Personally, I would love DeMarcus Cousins on the Celtics, but it sounds like Vlade Divac wants to keep him in Sacramento (then again, what can we really believe this week?). I didn’t like the idea of Cousins in Boston a few years ago because one former Kentucky hothead was enough for me at the time. Now, with a point guard who actually plays defense in Marcus Smart, imagine the defensive nightmare the Celtics would throw at teams with Smart and Cousins.
As for who else might be out there, I can’t think of many, which isn’t a bad thing. Hopefully we’ll start to hear some more players on the trading block as the draft draws closer. There is always the chance the Pacers may want to move on from Roy Hibbert, who is a free agent after next season, but that will be a very expensive deal for a potential year-rental – not exactly what Ainge and company are hoping for.
But again, it’s usually the trades you never hear about that end up getting done with Ainge, so maybe there’s a nice wild card player out there.
I guess I’m not too hopeful the Celtics can trade for a big man on Thursday night, so I’ll ask you to make me feel better. Which of these potential players at 16 (or earlier, Danny!) would be able to give the C’s what they need – if not immediately then potentially a few years from now? My whole Monday mood depends on this answer!
Robb: That’s a lot of pressure Matt! Luckily, I have a couple of paths to make you feel better, and both involve trading up.
If the Celtics are looking for help for next season, there are a few appealing options, especially in the shooting department. Frank Kaminsky could be a more reliable version of Kelly Olynyk on the offensive end and Devin Booker out of Kentucky is the kind of sharpshooter from 3-point range the Celtics need in the backcourt. Bobby Portis is a versatile power forward who does a little bit of everything. He also has modeled his intensity after KG during his entire career, so I get the feeling Boston fans would be drawn to his motor right away.
The problem with all of those guys though is the C’s have too much personnel at those positions. More trades would be needed to clear some depth for them, which shouldn’t be a problem for Ainge.
If you are looking for the Celtics to take the longer road with greater upside, you have to look to the true bigs in this draft. Willie Cauley-Stein and Myles Turner both are young and have serious question marks, but the potential is real. Cauley-Stein’s offensive game is inconsistent though and you always have to be afraid he might turn into a JaVale McGee type player, someone who can block shots but is a net zero on the offensive end. Turner is the better all-around player, but his freshman campaign at Texas was rather underwhelming, so he’ll be a work in progress.MORE NEWS: Boston Celebrates Life And Legacy Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The bottom line? When you are drafting in the teens, everyone is going to have question marks. It will be fascinating to see though whether Ainge prefers potential in his bigs or older valuable role players when the Celtics are making moves Thursday night.