What do the Boston Celtics need to accomplish at the trade deadline?

The Celtics are at the top of the East and have a real chance at winning this title this season. What can the Celtics do at the trade deadline to improve their team? 

As of this writing, the Celtics are 36-15 and the top seed in the East. They are one of the best teams in the league and arguably THE best. Still, the Celtics are lacking a big man or at least some playoff insurance at the big man positions

The Celtics are currently relying on Al Horford and Robert Williams at the center position. While these two players are very solid. Horford is very old and relying on his knees at this point isn’t fair to player or team. Williams is currently rehabbing his leg injury and still can’t be fully dependent because of that.

Depending on both players’ knees in a playoff series against the Bucks or any other top team is risky. The Celtics should look to at least get insurance for the center position at the deadline.

Boston Celtics trade assets

The Celtics don’t have a lot of first-round draft picks to trade as they have already traded two away for Malcolm Brogdon and Derrick White, respectfully. The first-round picks that they do have available for trade is the 2025 or 2026 first-round pick (not both due to The Stepien Rule). They do have some second-round picks but a lot of those are already tied up in swaps.

They do have Danilo Gallinari’s $6 million salary (he’s out all year with a torn ACL) as a tool for salary matching in any trade. Additionally, the Celtics have a lot of trade exceptions that can only be used once per trade. In terms of young players, the Celtics have Payton Pritchard to offer. While he doesn’t want out per se, the young player clearly wants a bigger role.

Boston Celtics trade targets

Jakob Poeltl

In a previous article, I highlighted Jakob Poeltl as the Celtics’ best trade option. Going for Poeltl would be the all-in move as it would cost a future first. The Spurs have mentioned that they have wanted two first-round picks for Poeltl, but as Jared Weiss noted, the Spurs wanted two first-round picks for Derrick White last season and only got one from the Celtics.

Additionally, it would probably cost a second-round pick as you would need to ship Gallo’s contract elsewhere as the Spurs can’t acquire Gallinari again for six months due to trade rules. While this is a bit of a hefty price, this would be the best move the Celtics could make and fortify their center position for the playoffs. This would make the center position something of strength for the Celtics and not something to worry about.

Mason Plumlee 

Mason Plumlee is another option for the Celtics. This option is a bit cheaper while being a little downgrade in terms of talent. The Hornets are requiring a first-round pick in return in any trade return. As stated in the Poeltl part, that will be a little hard to do because the Celtics don’t have a lot of firsts to trade. This trade will not require an extra second like the Poeltl option, as shipping the Gallinari contract would be all that is required in a trade.

Buyout market/Serge Ibaka

The only other option is the buyout market. Yes, there are others out there, including Naz Reid but those players are probably out of the Celtics’ reach. They could try Payton Pritchard for Naz Reid, but both Poeltl and Plumlee would be better options. If none of those work out, they may have to look at players like Serge Ibaka on the buyout market.

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