Ever since the season ended with a first round loss to the Atlanta Hawks, rumors surrounding the Boston Celtics have been non-stop, as the team has tons of assets and is looking to add to a very talented roster. For weeks we have heard the Celtics linked to names like Russell Westbrook, Jimmy Butler, DeMarcus Cousins, Blake Griffin, and others.
But now, CSNNE reports that Boston’s aggressiveness on the trade market has not led teams like Los Angeles Clippers and the Sacramento Kings to change their stance on moving players targeted by Boston.
“You win with players, not picks,” one assistant GM told CSNNE.com. “Boston has lots of picks and some good players. But there’s not a great player on that roster. And the players you guys keep writing and talking about that they’re interested in, are great players. [Danny Ainge] will tell you, it’s not easy making trades. And when it comes to great players, it’s even harder to acquire them no matter how many picks you offer up.”
Per CSNNE, the only likely move the Celtics will be able to pull off is one for Philadelphia’s Jahlil Okafor, which isn't something the star-crazy Celtics fans wanted to hear.
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“From the moment Philly drafted Ben Simmons, everyone around the league knew that they would have to trade a big, either Okafor or Noels,” an NBA scout said, “Okafor is the better scorer; it’s not even close really. But Nerlens has that ability to run the floor and can protect the rim. Those two qualities . . . you can’t have enough guys in the frontcourt who call those two skills, strengths. That’s why Okafor is the more expendable player.”
The two teams were close to working out a deal on draft night, but things reportedly fell apart at the last minute. Okafor would definitely be a guy who could help Boston, as he plays a position of weakness and is a dominant low-post scorer.
With the 76ers not hiding their desire to move last year's number three overall pick, the Celtics could potentially bring him to Boston at a relatively low cost. Danny Ainge and the front office might not be able to bring the superstar player they want to Boston, but adding a guy like Okafor is certainly a step forward.