So I know a lot of Celtics fans, including myself, are fairly happy with how this team has been playing as of late. If they continue at this pace, they will probably finish between 6th place and 4th place in the Eastern conference and probably, depending on the matchup, have a decent shot at winning a playoff series, which would be an invaluable experience for this group of guys.
I know Danny Ainge has touted himself as a guy who likes to make trades. Well I am all for trades and deals, if they are good ones, I think the Celtics need to reassert themselves as a top free agent destination in basketball. In other words "Make the Celtics Great Again". In the 2016 offseason, there are lots of great options out there, even if they aren't super stars, they could bump the Celtics up a notch in the weak Eastern Conference. I want to center my focus around the center position, a position that has been neglected by Danny Ainge since giving away Kendrick Perkins for "Paul Pierce's replacement" Jeff Green. Danny did not have the The Art of the Deal in mind when he made that one, but now would be a great time to correct that disastrous deal.
1. Hassan Whiteside
This guy came onto the scene last season for the Miami Heat and absolutely dominated the competition. He was drafted in 2010, bounced around a little bit and was more or less off-the-grid. However, last season he exploded and dominated the middle for the Heat, averaging a double-double and giving them an inside presence they had been lacking during the LeBron era. Even though he may not be a superstar or a guy that is going to put up 25 points a game, he could really be a difference maker for this Celtic team and put them over the top. He certainly will be getting paid and Miami may not want to pay up for him considering it has been long speculated they are going after Kevin Durant this offseason. This could be the Celtics opportunity to offer him a great deal and maybe, if they are smart, pay a premium for him. Sometimes, you have to pay a premium for certain positions in sports and, in the NBA, center is one of them. If Danny is willing to take out his checkbook, this could be a home run.
2. Timofey Mozgov
Mozgov really got popular after his performance in the NBA Finals, playing for a very depleted Cavaliers team. He notably exposed Golden State's lack of interior D and was able to exploit them for it. This has driven up his value significantly. Mozgov, however, is most likely on the move from Cleveland. He will command an eight figure salary for sure, while Cleveland is already well into the luxury tax and has other things to worry about, quite frankly. He would certainly be a perfect fit for the Celtics. With his massive size, he could be a force to reckon with in the paint and, alongside Isaiah Thomas, could exploit the pick and roll. He certainly would help defensively down low as well and open things up for our better perimeter defenders like AB, Smart and Crowder. Boston could be a nice option for a guy who is currently a backup center playing on a drama filled team that just fired their coach in a garbage city. Again, Danny will have to open his wallet for this one.
3. Big Al Jefferson
Who wouldn't want to see this. I mean, I really loved Big Al during his short tenure with the Celtics at the beginning of his career. I knew he was going to be a star then he got traded away for KG. Although that had to happen, in the end I think it would be a wonderful thing for him to come back now in the prime of his career. From a basketball standpoint, it is a great fit. Big Al is a great low post player with an inside game and the guy knows how to rebound. He also can score and has averaged 20ppg several times in his career. He also knows what the city of Boston is like and probably has an appreciation for our Celtic pride.
By Spencer Roush