It was not to be for the Boston Celtics in the 2022 NBA Finals. Steph Curry punched his ticket to undisputed immortality as one of the game’s greatest singular forces of all time with an MVP effort, Klay Thompson got closure and bragging rights as the key ingredient to the Warriors dynasty considering his prolonged absence during their decline, and Draymond Green got to fill in the C’s Game 4 TD Garden handout t-shirt–which sports an empty banner spot–with the trio’s fourth championship as a trio together. If you want to throw in former essential piece-turned-bench luxury Andre Iguodala into the mix–he like Thompson, was also elsewhere during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons–and you have a core that has proven dynastic.
Is the Celtics’ core capable of the same? It’s tough to tell if the ‘Jays’, Marcus Smart, and Robert Williams can win four championships together, but the goal right now is simply to win one. Jaylen Brown (25) and Jayson Tatum (24) are young enough that this team can become that with the right pieces around them.
Sadly enough, it’s obvious the pieces Boston currently surrounds them with are not enough, though that’s not to say both Cs pillar pieces were exemplary during the NBA Finals themselves. Both were turnover prone and struggled from the field during the series relative to the regular season and postseason run before it.
A move has to be made. The easiest trade to get done is one that Danny Ainge made before and Brad Stevens must explore again: trading Daniel Theis. CBS Sports’ Sam Quinn mentioned a possible return that Theis and a pick could yield:
“At a bare minimum, the Celtics should be doing everything in their power to attach future draft capital to Daniel Theis for someone who can give them playoff minutes. Theis will make $8.7 million, and with a first-round pick or two, could probably get the Celtics another starting-caliber wing.”
While a wing could be a fine addition to the fold, it’s plausible the Cs could open up their search to an upgrade at any position for Theis’ $8.6 million 2022-23 salary.
Here are 3 players the Boston Celtics could explore trading Daniel Theis for
Of course, the Denver Nuggets are not in dire need of a starting center given the presence of back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic at the pivot. That said, there is a very real need for a big behind the ‘Joker’, and Daniel Theis would be the perfect addition for Denver. For the Cs, Monte Morris would be the perfect return for the German center.
Marcus Smart showed that the point guard position is covered, but Payton Pritchard was a tad shaker in his role in the NBA Finals after a hot-shooting playoff run preceding it. At 24-years-old in his first Finals his second season in the league, that is forgivable, but that doesn’t mean Boston can’t find a backcourt mate off the bench that takes some of that responsibility off of him in the meantime .
Morris would be the best point guard available around Theis’ salary, and would be worth ceding a pick in the process as a career 39.4% 3-point shooter.