The next few days will be huge for the Boston Celtics. Free agency starts July 1st and the Celtics will be making a big play for Gordon Haywood who will be visiting Miami, Boston and Utah before making his decision. Vegas odds have the Celtics as the favorites to sign arguably the top free agent available.
That's Step One.
Step Two is a trade for Pail George from the Pacers. I would send Jae Crowder plus the Celtics 2018 first round pick plus the Memphis 2019 first round pick to Indiana. If the Pacers want Jordan Mickey as a throw in - fine. If the Pacers want the conditional Lakers 2018 first rounder instead of the Celtics first rounder I would say OK but only if Paul George signs an extension with the Celtics. If no extension then only offer the 2018 Celtics pick.
If Paul George does sign an extension then the trade to move from the first pick in the draft to the third would have been basically in exchange for Jason Tatum and Paul George. That's robbery by Ainge (who doesn't get enough credit). I don't think that happens though. Why would George give up on his dream of playing for the Lakers prior to knowing how he fits with the Celtics? The extension talk is just posturing by the Pacers.
Some like the Boston Globe's Chad Finn have speculated that if Boston does trade for Paul George then it will be the end of Avery Bradley's career for the Green. I disagree. Paul George will make $19.3 million this season. If the Celtics shed Jae Crowder and Tyler Zeller then that's $15 million right there to cover the cost of the new acquisition. I'm no capologist but I trust Danny's folks will make it work.
I like the idea of Paul George as a one-year rental. Adding him and Haywood to the roster make Boston the best team in the East while still giving flexibility for the 2018 roster when Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart are due new contracts. Plus the Celtics would have two lottery picks in the next NBA Draft!
It's all good!