By Zack Cunningham
In this seemingly never-ending pre-draft period, we hear almost every day about how certain teams either like or don’t like highly-touted prospects. Teams like the Phoenix Suns are giving off all sorts of signals as to what they prefer to do with their pick and who they would prefer to take if they kept the No. 1 overall selection.
The Boston Celtics are now providing their share of intrigue now that their season is over. Sporting News’ Sean Deveney revealed on Wednesday that the Celtics are high on Mo Bamba and speculated that the young center could round out Boston’s roster with his defensive presence.
Obviously, in order to do that Boston would need to move up in the draft from their current No. 27 perch and likely into the top five. Enter Dallas and Memphis, both teams who are “ready and willing to deal” with the Celtics, per Deveney:
The Celtics have the No. 27 pick, but they have multiple assets on hand that could help them move into the top five of the draft, where the Grizzlies (No. 4) and Mavericks (No. 5) have made it clear they’re willing to make a deal.
The predictions on Bamba range anywhere from Nos. 3 – 6. Deveney also mentions that Orlando is high on the Texas product and would likely not let him fall past the Magic’s No. 6 slot should he make it to them at all:
He could go as high as No. 3 to the Hawks, and there has also been talk that the Magic — picking sixth — are high on Bamba and won’t let him drop past their slot.
Dallas owner Mark Cuban has said on the record that the Mavericks aren’t set on keeping the No. 5 pick, the franchise’s highest selection in 20 years. This jives with Deveney’s report that the Mavs could be willing to deal the pick for picks and talent from the Celtics.
What would the Celtics have to give up for a chance to draft Bamba? Bear in mind, these possibilities apply to both Dallas and Memphis in this situation and might even favor the Grizzlies since they are currently slated to pick one spot ahead of Dallas.
Deveney starts by saying Boston would, at the very least, need to give up this year’s pick (No. 27 as mentioned earlier) likely along with either Terry Rozier or Jaylen Brown:
In order to move into the top five of the draft, the Celtics would likely have to give up either Rozier or Brown — Dallas (Dennis Smith Jr.) and Memphis (Mike Conley) already have point guards, and would almost certainly prefer Brown.
And Boston probably would have to include this year’s draft pick, as well as at least one pick next year, when the Celtics own Sacramento’s pick (protected for the first overall pick) as well as Memphis’ pick (top-eight protected).
Since this site is primarily Dallas-focused, let’s examine this potential haul for this year’s No. 5 pick. The Mavericks have no need for Rozier, so they would likely make Brown a non-negotiable point in any deal. Combine that with this year’s first and either Sacramento’s or Memphis’ pick next year and Dallas could have a potential stud in Brown along with another top-10 pick next year, albeit in a weaker draft.
There is also the question of Gordon Hayward as he is set to return from injury next year and he and Brown play the same position. Does that make Brown expendable?
Also, if Bamba is perceived as Boston’s center of the future, where does that leave Al Horford and his big contract?
I want to emphasize that this scenario is purely speculative and Deveney clarifies that in his piece. All things considered it’s just another option the Mavericks possibly have to improve and build their core before the June 21 draft.