Yes you heard right. The Celtics should commit the ultimate NBA sin. They need to trade with their bitter rival if they want to compete for a championship this year. Any Celtics fan can admit that they are missing a key component to a championship run. They need size.
The most common names thrown out there in trade proposals have been Josh Smith and DeMarcus Cousins.
Both are very good players who would undoubtedly make a difference, but there are some issues. DeMarcus Cousins has some severe maturity problems. Hopefully Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers could keep him in check, but is it any guarantee? This is a kid who has reportedly had conduct issues dating back to his young high school days.
Also, and most importantly, what would it cost to get Cousins? Likely Avery Bradley at least, and possibly Sullinger. Not to mention what it would take for Josh Smith. The Hawks and Kings are not trading away their best talents without receiving some serious assets. Is Danny Ainge ready to gut his young talent to acquire either Smith or Cousins?
There could be a much simpler solution though. Pau Gasol.
Pau Gasol, Devin Ebanks, Jodie Meeks, 1st round pick.
Los Angeles Receives:
Brandon Bass, Jeff Green, Leandro Barbosa, Courtney Lee
Yes, get all the jokes out-of-the-way. He looks like a Lama. He’s soft. He’s old. He’s a Laker…anything else you want to throw in there? But now let’s actually evaluate this.
The Lakers are struggling and it is common knowledge they are looking to move Gasol. Mike Dantoni wants some more athletic players who can run and stretch the floor. Adding Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, Courtney Lee and Leandro Barbosa allow the Lakers to play the uptempo style they are hoping for.
The Lakers cannot sit by and continue to struggle. They need to compete in order to satisfy Dwight Howard into signing an extension. This deal could immediately make the Lakers a more competitive team and help address their depth issues.
The Celtics desperately need someone to help out in the post. Adding a 7-footer to team with Garnett is exactly what Boston needs. This year Gasol is averaging 8.1 rebounds per game. That would currently rank first on the Celtics. His rebounds have dipped since last year when he averaged 10.4 rpg, but Dantoni’s system can be held responsible for some of that statistic drop.
Can you just imagine the duo of Garnett and Gasol working together down low? It would cause havoc for opponents.
Now at first glance it may appear the Celtics lose a lot in this trade, but do they really? At this point Brandon Bass is completely expendable with Jared Sullinger’s recent play. The more minutes available for Sullinger, the better. The rookie is easily outperforming Bass and it’s only a matter of time before Bass is supplanted in the starting lineup.
Leandro Barbosa is not getting minutes and likely won’t under Doc. Dantoni would love to get back Barbosa who thrived in Phoenix under his seven seconds or less offense. If you’re the Celtics, what use does he have here if Doc won’t play him?
Courtney Lee is starting to play better, but has still been inconsistent. Is it really worth holding onto him for the next three and a half years of his contract?
Jeff Green should be named Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde because you never know what you are getting on a nightly basis. Sometimes you get the aggressive rim attacking Green (which we all love), and the next night it is stand in the corner and do nothing Green (which we all hate). Boston needs consistency and Gasol can provide that.
He is a four-time All-Star. Do not forget he was the best big man in the 2010 Finals, in which he outplayed none other than Garnett. Gasol is a tremendous post player and has unique passing abilities. Boston would have no trouble in giving him the ball in the paint and having him create scoring opportunities.
He’s also a two-time NBA champion. Do not discount how important having championship experience can be to a locker room.
The Celtics would also receive a first round pick, which could be fairly high if the Lakers do not turn around their season. Devin Ebanks is a young small forward who has shown to be a solid defender against the likes of Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant. As a 37 percent career 3-point shooter, Jodie Meeks, would be able to provide some shooting in short stretches.
If this does not work out then Gasol’s contract expires next season. His $19 million would come off the books and make the Celtics serious players in the free agency market.
Just remember though, in order to win a championship, you have to be willing to make the bold move.