The Boston Celtics entered the season as one of the favorites to emerge from the Eastern Conference and contend for an NBA title.
Thus far, the year has not gone as planned.
Currently, the team is 21-22 through 43 games and sits eighth in the East. It has gotten to the point where the team owner is now blaming former stars for his franchise’s woes and Danny Ainge is regularly ranting about why problems exist.
With the March 25th trade deadline rapidly approaching, the Celtics are reportedly eyeing two big time players in potentially blockbuster deals.
According to Jared Weiss and Sam Amick of The Athletic, the Celtics are very interested in getting a deal for Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon done.
“Sources say the Celtics, whose significant struggles this season appear to have increased the pressure to add another impactful player in time for the playoff push, have been among the teams engaged with the Magic about a possible Gordon deal,” they wrote.
This aligns with a similar report from Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, who noted that the “Rockets, Warriors, Celtics, Timberwolves, and Trail Blazers have all had talks with the Magic for Gordon.”
There are positives and negatives to Boston potentially adding Gordon.
On one hand, the 25-year-old is extremely talented and has huge upside. He wouldn’t fully fill the hole left behind by Gordon Hayward, but he would give the Celtics another wing threat where they currently don’t have one.
On the other, adding him to a roster that already features Marcus Smart and Robert Williams approaching free agency means that the team could get a $25 million tax bill next year.
If not Gordon, Evan Fournier is another player Boston is seriously eyeing.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the interest is very real.
“A potential suitor for Magic sharpshooter Evan Fournier: The Celtics,” he reported. “Fournier is on an expiring contract worth $17.1 million.”
Although Fournier has missed almost half the season with injuries, when healthy, he can be a valuable contributor. So far this year he is averaging a career high 19.1 points per outing.
That answers that. https://t.co/giybknFbu8
— Game 7 (@game7__) March 22, 2021
Over the last five years Fournier has consistently averaged at least 15 points per game, all while shooting nearly 38 percent from beyond the arc.
It goes without saying that neither Gordon nor Fournier will ultimately make the sort of impact James Harden would have. Given Ainge’s ridiculous reason for not pulling the trigger on that deal, it’s easy to understand why some fans might be dubious about other prospective trades.
That said – both Gordon and Fournier have the potential to be difference-makers on this Celtics squad. If Orlando is willing to do a deal, Ainge owes it to the franchise to make something happen and try to pump some life into an otherwise disappointing season.