The Boston Celtics have fallen on tough times — to say the least. Considered a true Eastern Conference contender earlier this season, the team’s playoff fate is not even guaranteed. Following back-to-back losses to the Miami Heat, the Cs appear destined for the play-in tournament.
When they get there, they’ll be without the services of All-Star Jaylen Brown, who is set to undergo season-ending wrist surgery. On top of Brown’s absence, big-man Robert Williams continues to deal with a lingering turf toe injury that clouds his availability for the foreseeable future.
Of course, no player will be able to fully supplement Brown’s production in Boston’s lineup. The same could likely be said for Williams — although holding onto Daniel Theis at the deadline would have certainly helped (easy to say now). With that said, had Danny Ainge been more aggressive in his trade pursuits back in late March, the frontcourt for the Celtics may be the least of the team’s problems.
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Should Celtics Regret Not ‘Swinging Big at Center’?
Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley certainly believes so, as the columnist listed the C’s failure to solidify their center position amongst the top-four Deals Contenders and Tankers Should’ve Made at the Deadline. The deal in question? One that would finally have yielded the team the services of Indiana Pacers star defender Myles Turner.
- Indiana Pacers Receive:
- Tristan Thompson
- Romeo Langford
- Grant Williams
- first-round pick
“Traveling back to the trade deadline means returning to a time in which Jaylen Brown wasn’t lost for the season,” Buckley wrote. “Those were the best of times weren’t they, Boston Celtics fans?”
“Well, they could have been had Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge used more of his resources to land a bigger fish,” he proclaimed. “Sure, the addition of Evan Fournier helped, but Boston had bigger problems than a spark-plug scorer could fix.”
“Myles Turner might have unlocked the Shamrocks’ full potential as a defensive anchor and stretch shooter,” he noted. “Defensively, he could patrol the paint and cover for the inevitable leaks behind Kemba Walker. Offensively, Turner’s shooting threat (career 35.2 percent from deep) would have kept attack lanes open for Walker, Brown and Jayson Tatum.”
Buckley proceeded to praise Time Lord’s ability to step up in a mid-season elevation into the starting lineup and perform admirably. Yet, when it comes down to it, the team would have been better off having the 23-year-old Williams playing second fiddle to Turner.
“Robert Williams III, when healthy, has done an admirable job of stepping into the starting center spot, but he lacks Turner’s size, instincts and overall skill level,” said Buckley. “Doing this deal could have kept Williams in a reserve role, turning the position from a liability into a strength.”
Celtics Previously Rejected Turner Deal
If you recall, there was a reported trade proposal by the Pacers back in November that the Celtics ultimately chose to reject. Per the Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn, Indiana offered both Turner and forward Doug McDermott in exchange for Gordon Hayward — who informed Boston he’d like to return to his hometown of Indiana. Instead, the Celtics asked for either T.J. Warren or Victor Oladipo to join Turner in the deal as opposed to McDermott. The team’s steep asking price halted trade talks for a few days. In that timespan, Hayward opted for a four-year, $120 million deal with the Charlotte Hornets, ending all hope of a trade.
Ainge’s so-called stubbornness has received backlash in recent months, especially with the team’s defense plummeting to the No. 18 ranked unit in basketball. Obviously, an elite rim protector (3.4 blocks per game – most in NBA) and a Defensive Player of the Year candidate such as Turner would have helped shore things up on that end of the court.
Yet, would he have ultimately altered things for the better in the overall picture of things? That’s up for debate. Although quite frankly, that’s likely the last thing on the minds of a Celtics team who is currently battling for their playoff lives.
— Mountain Dew® (@MountainDew) May 6, 2021