Having lost out on Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors, Celtics fans are still clamoring for a superstar. But as expected, acquiring one would cost a hefty price.
Acquiring Russell Westbrook looks to be the best option at this point.
Talent is not an issue for the 27-year-old point guard, who has been a perennial MVP candidate the last few years. Instead, the issue is his sign-ability -- and the potentially exorbitant price to acquire him.
Assuming the Thunder really do want to deal Westbrook, he wouldn't come cheap. Those two Brooklyn Nets picks, which could land the Celtics Josh Jackson and DeAndre Ayton in consecutive years? Gone. Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder, two talented players on extremely good deals? Also gone.
Even Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown, three talented, young building blocks, are all possibilities to be dealt. All for a guy who may only be a Celtic for ONE SEASON...and worse, could jump ship to the Lakers next offseason.
Of course, if Westbrook would agree to an extension, that changes everything. But why would he, especially before playing a single game on the East coast—a deep change from his West Coast ties?
The bottom line is clear. If Ainge really thinks that a Celtics team spearheaded by Al Horford and Westbrook can win the championship—a hard sell in the wake of the Warriors' super-team foundation—then this deal is a must.
But Ainge has spent the last several years rebuilding the roster, making brilliant deals to acquire the Nets picks and Crowder (in particular) -- not to mention the brilliant Brad Stevens hire. This team has a very bright future, especially with future All-Stars Jackson and Ayton well within reach.
Unless Westbrook signs a long-term deal to remain a Celtic—or they can get a VERY good deal to acquire him—Ainge should just sit back and let another team foolishly tear apart their roster for Westbrook.