The Boston Celtics have had a rough season up to this point. Despite coming into the year as one of the frontrunners to win the East, they are 18-17 through 35 games and sit half a game ahead of the New York Knicks in the playoff picture.
Beyond the unimpressive record, the organization in general just seems to be having trouble coping with its middling status. Boston’s owner is off blaming a former player for the franchise’s failures, its GM is ranting about the fallout from his own mistakes. It’s a messy situation.
Fortunately, there is still time to right the ship.
The Celtics reportedly have their eye on two big names that could change everything.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Boston is interested in Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic and Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant.
“The Celtics and [Charlotte] Hornets are among teams interested in Magic two-time All-Star Nikola Vucevic,” he wrote. “Rival teams expect that any haul for Vucevic would have to be massive. The 7-foot big man is having his best NBA season, averaging 24.5 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists while shooting 41.8 percent from 3-point range. Vucevic has spent nine of his 10 NBA seasons in Orlando.”
Grant is similarly thriving this year.
LaMelo has found a nifty trick for picking up Instagram models. https://t.co/4y9uyWxlAe
— Game 7 (@game7__) February 25, 2021
“Among top trade targets for the Celtics: Detroit’s Jerami Grant,” Charania added. “Grant is having a breakout season, averaging 23.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.1 steals per game. He is a leader for the Most Improved Player of the Year award.”
Of course, at this point it’s worth noting that any potential transaction is predicated on Danny Ainge actually pulling the trigger. He had a deal for James Harden on the table with the Houston Rockets and ultimately opted not to proceed for a truly bizarre reason.
If Boston has finally entered the “acceptance” stage of grief and is willing to make a necessary move, they could come away with at least one of these difference-makers relatively easily.