The Boston Celtics have plenty of work to do if they want to usurp the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference.
The Celts were eliminated in five games by the Cavs last month in the Eastern Conference Final, and it’s clear they are still playing catch-up.
General manager Danny Ainge did not think having the No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft was enough to close the gap.
That may be one of the reasons the Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers are expected to finalize a deal on Monday that sends the No. 1 pick to Philadelphia for the No. 3 overall pick and the 2018 Los Angeles Lakers’ first-round pick, with certain conditions, per NBA insider David Aldridge.
If those conditions are not met, the Celtics will get a 2019 Sacramento Kings first-round pick, which is also owned by the 76ers.
But don’t think that the Celtics are finished making deals at this point.
One of the trades they could make involves Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz. Jordan Schultz of the Huffington Post reported last week that his sources believe the Celtics are the favorites to complete a trade to acquire his services.
The 6’8″, 226-pound Hayward is coming off an excellent year with the Jazz, as he averaged 21.9 points per game while shooting 47.1 percent from the field. Hayward, 27, has increased his scoring total in each of his seven seasons, and he also averages 5.4 rebounds per game.
Hayward would clearly give the Celtics an upgrade in their front court, and they seem likely to use the pick they received from the Sixers to draft a forward.
The Celtics may be looking at additional trades as well. NBA writer Keith Smith and Sean Deveney of Sporting News both reported that Ainge is looking for additional deals that could strengthen the team.
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