Rarely does an NBA season pass by without Celtics boss Danny Ainge making a dramatic transaction. Terry Rozier was one of the hottest names on the NBA trade market a month and a half ago, but we haven’t heard much about the point guard being shipped off recently. Expect that to change next month as we inch closer to the trade deadline.
The Celtics’ circumstances have changed on multiple levels since Rozier was first mentioned in trade talks around the league in November. Boston is currently one of the hottest teams in the NBA with Rozier playing a key role. In the month of December, Rozier is averaging 26.4 minutes per game. He’s making the most of that increased PT as well as he’s averaging 9.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists in the month.
Another thing that has changed that will certainly affect the Celtics moving forward is that the Sacramento Kings, Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers are all exceeding expectations this season. That’s bad news for Boston as it could potentially own all of those teams’ respective first round picks in 2019. If the NBA Draft was held tomorrow, the Celtics would have four first round picks but none of those picks would fall in the top 15 of the draft.
If Ainge’s ultimate plan is to land Anthony Davis via trade this summer, then three mediocre draft picks won’t be enough. No doubt, the Celtics are going to have to package those picks with players as well. Right now, there is no way Pelicans GM Dell Demps would bite on a Davis trade unless the Celtics were willing to give up Jayson Tatum.
Obviously the Celtics will be looking to avoid trading away their best draft pick since Paul Pierce – so it may behoove Ainge to look to trade Rozier for another asset to use down the line in a monster Davis package.
It wouldn’t be the best thing in the world to signal to his current team that the Celtics are in full win-now mode right now by trading away Rozier for a draft pick. But we have seen Ainge try to please both the present and future master in the past (the controversial Jeff Green – Kendrick Perkins trade comes to mind).
The good thing for the Celtics when it comes to potentially trading Rozier is that there could be a big market for him ahead of the trade deadline. Contending teams like the Bucks, Pacers, 76ers and Thunder would love to have Rozier as a sixth man in the playoffs. Bottom-dwellers like the Bulls, Suns and Magic may also be interested in obtaining a player like Rozier, who wants to be a starter, to help build a foundation.
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