If you haven’t already heard, the Gordon Hayward Sign and trade saga is over! Thank God! I haven’t seen many debates and/or arguments on whether Danny Ainge got enough or that he completely mismanaged this situation. It is what it is folks. As you have more than likely heard, we got the largest trade exception in league history at 28.5 million…. That’s a lot of dough! So I’ve talked to people, read articles on what they should do with this large TPE. From the people I’ve talked to and the articles I’ve read I have seen and heard, don’t use it, get some pieces to fit the Tatum/Brown timeline or get another star. My thought is they should rush with this decision. They have until the beginning of the next offseason to use it and I want them to get it right! This needs to be a chess move by Ainge and the front office. If I was in the room this would be my thought process.
Use TPE To Get A Piece/Pieces That You Could Flip Later:
The Celtics should use this TPE before the trade deadline to get a piece that they can flip for a bigger fish later on. What this means is that you have your stars in Tatum, Brown, and Walker so you shouldn’t need to immediately find a star. They should use it on a player similar in age to the Tatum/Brown timeline and that would fit a need. Also this player would need at least 2 years left on their contract. Two names that come to mind are Aaron Gordon from the Magic and Zach LaVine from Bulls. Both are 24/25 years old and have 2 years left on their deal and fit within the TPE and still leaves you enough to get another player. I would prefer Aaron Gordon; because he’s a wing that can play the 4, he is a good defender and would be your 3rd-4th option. I threw in Zach LaVine, given the concern about Kemba’s knee. For the purpose of this blog we will use Aaron Gordon. He helps the Celtics right now and shows positivity heading into the future.
Jaylen Brown’s Leap:
This is a key piece in this equation. I think that Celtics fans can mainly agree when I say that Jayson Tatum is your number 1 option and is a transcendent player that will be a top 10 player in the game in a short time. Jaylen Brown on the other hand is an interesting situation. He’s improving every year and becoming a great two way player and he is slowly becoming a top 15 guy in my eyes, but for some people they need more from him.
So I think these first weeks of the season will be key especially without Kemba and Hayward no longer on the team. Brown’s numbers should go way up because he will have the second most usage on the Celtics behind Tatum. This in my eyes will solidify whether he’s a second star or third star on a team. Which isn’t a bad thing, I do believe that he will be that definitive second star on this team. It’s a serious question to ask because if you use TPE to acquire an Aaron Gordon type player then the question becomes do you flip for a second or third star to match with Tatum and Brown for the foreseeable future.
Kemba’s Knee and Future
Kemba’s knee situation will depend how quickly they use the TPE in my eyes, if the knee is worse than we think except a trade quick. If it isn’t too serious except the Aaron Gordon scenario to happen. If it isn’t too serious and Kemba has a good season they will probably flip him this offseason or just wait until he opts out. His knee is something to keep close eye on.
Romeo Langford’s Future
I think this the biggest question for the Celtics is how will Romeo Langford pan out. When he returns in February we should see where he fits or if he doesn’t fit on this team. He showed some serious potential. If the Celtics have to make a move this offseason, he could be a good piece, depending on how he plays this season. If he contributes he will be one of your better assets to get a big fish.
Marcus Smart’s Future
Marcus Smart had a career year this past season and his contract is one of the best in the league. There are conflicting reports that have viewed Smart as a key core piece, but there are other reports that have included him in serious trade rumors. I think Smart might be playing his last season in Boston especially if they have identified a big fish. They would need to include him in any deal.
The Big Fish
If the Celtics have an idea of a big fish, they won’t use the TPE to get a piece to flip later. I think you should get your piece now and then you see how it plays out. Who do the Celtics have in mind as their next big fish? Is it Bradley Beal, a guy that Tatum has some history with? Or is it someone else that we have no idea is available yet? Who knows what Danny Ainge has in store. But I am excited for this team’s future.
Keep An Eye Out
Given the outlook on the league in the short term, the Celtics using the TPE should be the move right now. If the Celtics have an idea of who they think is their big fish, the TPE can help them get that other star. It is a game within a game folks, so it is time to keep an eye out on the Celtics in the short term.