On Sunday, September 27th, the three-seeded Boston Celtics were upset in six games by the six-seeded Miami Heat. This upsetting loss saw the favored Celtics crack under pressure, playing some of the most inconsistent basketball of the year.
Where do we move from here? As we just observed, we are not ready to win a championship, let alone make the finals.
One might say that one lousy playoff series means nothing and that we should keep on developing our players, and maybe sign another 6th or 7th man to deepen our bench. However, I believe that this thinking is flawed. We have gone to the Eastern Conference finals twice in the past three years, and to make it further, we have to take some risks by reconfiguring our roster.
One player that I want off of our hands is Gordon Hayward. Yes, Hayward had good regular seasons, but he has shown that staying healthy is an intense struggle, and he’s had trouble stepping up in the playoffs. Additionally, as much as I love Daniel Theis, I don’t believe he can start at center for a championship-contending team. If we could keep him as a backup, he would fit that role well. However, trading him away is in the realm of possibility.
So, what trades can we make with these players? Sadly, trading Hayward might be a struggle, as not many teams want older, overpaid players who have no guarantee of continuing a high level of play for the next couple of seasons. However, this is not to say that Hayward is untradeable; rather, he is not as valuable as when we initially signed him.
In my opinion, we should try to trade for a reliable starting center that can pull this entire team together both offensively and defensively. An example of one such player is Miles Turner, a shot-blocking stretch for the Pacers. We could trade the Pacers Hayward for Turner, although I doubt the Pacers would give up their blooming shot-blocking big. However, Turner’s current unhappiness at the Pacers might make this trade happen easier than expected. We could also throw in Enes Kanter or Daniel Thies, and maybe a pick for that trade to sweeten the pot.
Amidst one of the most significant free agency classes in the past couple of years, we should try to acquire a couple of new players. One player I would love to sign is Tristan Thompson. Bringing him in would mean that we would be getting a guy who has made it to the finals many times before. As we saw in this past playoffs, an experienced veteran on our court was something we were missing. Furthermore, Thompson averaged 12 points this year, shooting 51% from the field and 39% from the three. Thompson could run a perfect dual center rotation with Theis, similar to the Lakers one-two punch of Dwight Howard and JaVele McGee, except with more three-point shooting.
No matter what trade it is, we need to make some sort of splash this offseason. Celtics fans are sick of making second and third-round exits each year, but I believe we have the ability to make the next couple of years ours.