NBA Draft week is finally upon us! This means trade rumors will be floating around the internet even more than usual through Friday morning … and I’ll be damned if I’m not doing my best to contribute made up trade ideas to fuel the fire.
My sense has long been that the Celtics really want to come out of this draft with a player like Willie Cauley-Stein. He provides rebounding, shot blocking, defense … really everything they’re looking for. Picking at No. 16 overall, however, Cauley-Stein’s not a realistic option. But there’s been chatter of the C’s moving up as high as No. 6 to select the center from Kentucky. Doing so would require making a move with the Sacramento Kings.
But let’s flip the tables here. It’s no secret that DeMarcus Cousins is going to continue generating trade rumors for as long as the Kings keep landing in the lottery. Maybe this is the summer Danny Ainge lures the next big piece of the puzzle to Boston.
With a recruiter like Isaiah Thomas – an ex-teammate of Boogie with the Kings – this could be the perfect player at the perfect time for the C’s. Ainge would need to hand over a “king’s ransom” to get his hands on a young talent like Cousins, but he’s one of the few GMs both willing to pay the price with the capital to back it up.
Of course, what you see above isn’t the entire trade. There would be a hefty pile of draft picks exchanging hands here as well. Let’s say the Celtics are willing to include the 16th and 45th picks in Thursday’s draft, along with the Brooklyn Nets’ 2016 first-round pick, and the Celtics’ own 2018 first-rounder. Now we have a legitimate deal.
Why it works for Sacramento:
It’s never fun when you’re giving away the best player in the trade, but the future is now bright for the Kings. They can likely use their own pick to now take Cauley-Stein as a replacement for DMC, but also really improve their draft class with the addition of the 16th and 45th picks.
Even further down the road, the future firsts coming from the Nets and Celtics are sure to help build around their headline draft class in 2015 (and that Nets pick could be a pretty high one).
Gerald Wallace isn’t quite in demand at 32-years old and $10M, to put it nicely. BUT he is now an expiring contract and was a great locker room influence on younger players in Boston – something not totally useless to a team that now holds three picks in the draft.
Bradley, on the other hand, gives SAC a great perimeter defender in their backcourt. AB improved his jump shot immensely last season, and is on what should translate to a very good contract once the new television deal kicks in. Ainge doesn’t want to part ways with Bradley, but the Kings have to get at least one veteran that interests them in a deal for a talent like Cousins.
Why it works for Boston:
Well, the Celts get a 24-year old center with superstar potential. So, why they pounce on this deal is pretty obvious, but there’s always room to dig deeper.
Stauskas had a horrible rookie season for the Kings, but the Celtics were relatively interested in the shooter during last year’s draft process. Ainge can try and buy low on him with Bradley no longer jamming up the minutes in Boston’s backcourt. The biggest loss isn’t Bradley, though. The draft picks are a steep price. But because Ainge has so many great role players already wearing green, and a plethora of picks stacked up, using them towards a player of Cousin’s caliber makes too much sense.
The Celtics would be putting forward a starting lineup that can easily compete in the east with Thomas at the helm, Cousins, Marcus Smart, Jared Sullinger and either Evan Turner or Jae Crowder (both of whom just wrapped up career seasons under Brad Stevens). And that’s before Ainge and his team dive into free agency.
It’s not a championship contender, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction for Boston. Meanwhile, Sacramento has to settle for a rebuild, but at a price no team but the C’s would be willing to pay.
For comments, follow me on Twitter @julianedlow
UPDATE: A tweet from Woj has brought a Cousins trade to real life overnight. The Lakers still may be the hot rumor, but why would the Kings keep him out west? If not the Celtics, Rob Perez can tell you why Boogie will be a Knick come draft night.