With a 16-19 record, the Boston Celtics are facing the prospect of back-to-back disappointing seasons. It’s been all change at the organization, with Brad Stevens replacing Danny Ainge and Ime Udoka taking Stevens’ job as head coach, but an overhaul is yet to bring success.
Boston Celtics betting odds show this team for where they are right now. Six teams have shorter odds to win the Eastern Conference. On December 29th, eight East teams had a better record on the season, with Boston narrowly clinging on to a play-in berth.
There has been considerable roster turnover in recent years. The C’s continue to search for a winning formula around Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, and more changes are expected in the coming months. Celtics trade rumors are inevitable as the deadline approaches – they have already been linked with Indiana Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis.
Sabonis is making $18.5 million this season on a deal that runs through 2023-24. The Celtics trading for Sabonis wouldn’t be going all-in on what might be a lost season. Instead, they would be adding a foundational piece alongside Tatum and Brown.
Sabonis Trade Package
Compared to many contracts around the Association, Sabonis’ salary is relatively easy to match in a trade. Boston has Al Horford’s bloated contract which it could include, though Indiana probably isn’t interested in taking that on.
Building trades has been difficult at times for the Celtics due to a lack of appropriately sized deals. Most potential trades come down to Marcus Smart, who would surely be the centerpiece here.
Indiana isn’t looking to tear it down. They didn’t tank when they traded Paul George, and they likely want to remain competitive again, even if they deal Sabonis and/or Myles Turner.
Smart is a good option in that regard. He’s a solid fit alongside Malcolm Brogdon in the backcourt, providing elite defense, decent shooting and occasional playmaking.
Boston’s Limited Assets
It’s then a question of which other pieces the Pacers would want. Dennis Schroder’s expiring isn’t going to interest them, and Boston won’t be keen to include Robert Williams III alongside Smart.
Failure to develop their draft picks has been part of the problem for the Celtics in recent seasons. As a result, their youngsters don’t have that much value, so they would likely need to include a couple of Romeo Langford, Payton Pritchard, Aaron Nesmith and Grant Williams in this trade.
While looking to stay competitive, the Pacers would surely ask for a draft pick or two in a Sabonis trade. An unprotected first in 2022 or 2023 could be enough or the Celtics could offer selections further into the 2020s.
It’s a high price for a team languishing around .500. Sabonis is an elite passer for a big man, but this doesn’t solve Boston’s long-running point guard issue.
There will be more options for the Celtics to add a third star down the line. Sabonis links are going to continue in the coming weeks, though Boston might be better off exercising some patience.