The only name that has been circulated in Celtics trade rumors more than Kevin Love over the last 12-plus months or so has been that of Jahlil Okafor, the Sixers’ big man.
It seems like eons ago, but the Celtics were pretty close to pulling off a blockbuster deal involving Okafor in the 2015 – yes, 2015 – NBA Draft as ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported 392 days ago that if Okafor fell to No. 3 in the draft (he did), the Celtics were prepared to make a Godfather offer. Pro Basketball Draft tweeted that day that the C’s would have been willing to send “Marcus Smart and picks” to the Sixers in exchange for Okafor.
“Marcus Smart and picks” would still probably get the job done, so long as “picks” meant either the 2017 or 2018 Nets pick (Celtics have the right to swap picks in 2017 with Brooklyn – which they or some other team will certainly do). Smart and both Nets picks seem like far too much to give up on Boston’s end, but there’s no doubt that Philly boss Bryan Colangelo is currently pushing for something resembling that trade that Sam Hinkie likely rejected over a year ago.
All told, Okafor remains the No. 1 “big name” likely to be dealt to the Celtics. Here’s a look at the odds that the former Duke center winds up on Causeway Street as well as the more distant odds that some established stars wind up with the C’s.
Jahlil Okafor 9-5
It’s become increasingly maddening as to why the Celtics and Sixers weren’t able to pull off the simple Kris Dunn for Okafor swap on draft night. Made way too much sense for both teams, apparently.
Russell Westbrook 11-1
Thunder GM Sam Presti does not seem to be willing to go into rebuild mode just yet, but if he’s the guy who winds up letting Kevin Durant and Westbrook walk away from OKC without getting anything in return for either it’s a good bet he never gets a front office job in the NBA ever again. Talk about overcompensating for that James Harden trade from years ago.
Blake Griffin 12-1
Doc Rivers does not seem like the kind of guy who wants to make big trades. He likes to ride things out with veterans and is reluctant to give control to guys he does not trust. Hell, if it were up to him – he’d probably still be coaching the Celtics with a starting five of 40-year-old Kevin Garnett, 38-year-old Paul Pierce, 38-year-old Jason Terry, Perk, and the human being formerly known as Delonte West. When the writing was on the wall that Ainge was ready to trade Garnett and Pierce three years ago, that’s when Doc wanted out. The man hates change more than those in attendance at the RNC this week.
Kevin Love 25-1
If the Cavs’ front office (LeBron) were ruthless they would have traded Love by now. Instead, they’re in pure championship honeymoon phase and seem more interested in selling “this-is-the-team-that-broke-the-Cleveland-curse” merch than actually building a roster that can compete with Golden State next season. I fully expect an also-ran in the East like the Raptors or Celtics to upset Cleveland in the playoffs next season, BTW. The 2016-17 Cavs will be like the 2005 Red Sox – popping champagne all day, every day in the dreaded SEASON after THE SEASON.
DeMarcus Cousins 26-1
The Kings are dumb. But not this dumb.
Jimmy Butler 30-1
The Bulls have a plan. It’s to be a 7-seed in the East for the next eight years, but it’s a plan nonetheless.