Alright, alright I know the Celtics aren’t the favorites to win it all. As painful as that is to admit, it’s just the truth. Keeping in mind that the Celtics are still a very good basketball team, there are some areas where Boston still needs to improve. Danny Ainge has the league’s largest trade exception but as of right now he can only use some of it. I would love to use that exception, or any of the multiple exceptions that Danny managed to snag to get some good rebounding and some extra defensive help down the lane. With a shortened offseason, teams now have less time to realize what their needs are and who they should target. So here is a shopping list for Danny Ainge’s TPE.
The first name on Danny’s TPE Shopping list is Nerlens Noel, who currently plays for a surprising Knicks team. New York has overachieved this year and it seems like the new sheriffs in the office have finally put the organization’s head on straight. Now someone has to tell Dolan to scram. Noel could prove to be a good find for the Celtics.
He isn’t much offensively, but he is currently tied for eighth in blocks per game. Noel is coming off the bench for the Knicks so there would be no change in his role there. He brings rebounding to the team which is a huge necessity. His ability to steal the ball is pretty good too. He’s currently averaging a steal per game. This option would have to wait because Noel can’t be traded until February. I envision a package of picks going back to New York along with someone like Tremont Waters or Carsen Edwards.
Next on the shopping list for Danny Ainge’s TPE, Nikola Vucevic. Vucevic has been a name thrown around by Celtics fans and beat writers alike. He is currently on an Orlando team that was never able to figure it out and is likely heading towards a rebuild. Vucevic could be the big-ticket asset should the Magic go into a fire sale.
Vucevic is currently seventh in the league for total rebounds and is averaging a double-double. He is also in the top-five of the most efficient, high-volume shooters from three. A deal for Nikola would require a lot of salary management and could end up with players like Javonte Green and other non-guaranteed contracts being cut or moved to make space for the TPE to be used. Orlando would be looking for picks and young assets to start their rebuild. Boston would be willing to oblige if the picks are right.
Another name from Orlando that gets thrown around a lot is Aaron Gordon. Gordon has been in Orlando for his entire career and has to be thinking that he is starting to waste his prime in Orlando. The team doesn’t know what to do with him and they haven’t been able to build a contender around him. Boston would give him the chance to be on a contender and focus on his game. He would have to take on a smaller role for Boston but I don’t think he’ll be complaining in the Eastern Conference Finals. He shoots at a rate of about 45 percent for his career which could definitely help out the bench.
He’s shown to be more than just an athletic player improving his shooting almost every year. This move would not require as much work for the Celtics as his salary would be easy to match with returning players and the exception. Again as it always is with Danny, it’s all about what picks Orlando asks for.