After falling short of winning a championship several times with their existing core, many expect the Boston Celtics to shake things up this summer. That could come in the form of a Jaylen Brown trade or, perhaps, by making a win-now move to acquire a future Hall of Famer.
Chris Paul is likely to either be traded or waived before June 28th, with several other contending teams lining up to land him. Although the Celtics could theoretically sign him once he is waived, a proposed trade by Sports Radio Host Colin Cowherd has Boston acquiring him directly from the Suns.
NBA Trades: The Celtics and Suns could find common ground on a trade involving Paul.
A Paul for Smart trade, in theory, could be beneficial for both teams, though it would need some tweaking to make it viable. By moving on from Paul, the Suns would have a big question mark at point guard for next season, but Smart could fill that role.
Meanwhile, Gallinari, who missed all of this past season following an ACL tear, would need to opt into the final year of his contract and be included in the deal to help match salaries. Were he to be included, he could give Phoenix another shooter and provide some much-needed depth.
The Celtics, assuming they re-sign Brown to a supermax, face added pressure to build a winner around their two best players, and that would be made harder by the new CBA. Paul, who has two years remaining on his contract, may only play one more year, which could be his last chance to win an elusive championship.
Both Paul and the Celtics find themselves in a similar position. Although he isn’t nearly the same player as he once was, he is still an above-average point guard who is also more than capable of creating offense for others.
The Celtics already have two big-time offensive players in Jayson Tatum and Brown, but both struggled to create against the Heat at times, contributing to the team’s downfall in the East Finals. Changing things up by adding Paul to the mix could make their lives easier and help the Celtics get over the hump in the playoffs.
Whether Boston makes a play for Paul remains to be seen and will depend primarily on what they decide to do with Brown. If they re-sign Brown, then they could look to make a big move to try and improve their roster, and Paul might be an option if he’s still available.