Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck describes his emotions after winning the NBA draft lottery.
USA TODAY Sports
The Boston Celtics are at a bit of a crossroads.
Not only are they in the Eastern Conference finals as the No. 1 seed, but they just in June’s draft thanks to a 2013 trade with the Brooklyn Nets that’s still paying dividends. The only problem? It appears, especially after , that they don’t have enough to get past LeBron James and the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
This current dilemma, albeit a good one to have, begs the question: Should the Celtics hold on to the pick (likely ) and continue to build for the future, or should they trade the pick, along with other assets, for a player like Indiana Pacers forward Paul George or Chicago Bulls forward Jimmy Butler and take a more short term, win-now approach?
If it were up to Paul Pierce — the Celtics legend who just completed a — Boston would go with the latter.
“You trade this pick, because he cannot help the Celtics get over the top,” Pierce said while making an appearance on The Jump Wednesday afternoon. “The window is now. … You’re a 50-win team, you’re the No. 1 seed. You have to build on this momentum. If you can acquire a Paul George a Jimmy Butler or a Gordon (Hayward) from Utah, you have to do it.”
George and Butler — who have had their names tossed around on the Celtics trade front for some time — are both still under contract with their respective teams. Butler has two years left until he can become a free agent, while George has one. Hayward — who played under Celtics coach Brad Stevens at Butler — can opt out of his contract and test the unrestricted free-agency waters this summer, but the Jazz have a bit of an upper hand, of course, as they’re able to offer him a more lucrative five-year deal as opposed to a team like Boston.
“I would try to persuade Gordon to sign as a free agent,” Pierce said. “You don’t have to trade for him. You go out, you try to get Gordon. Now, you have a chance with the No. 1 pick to try to acquire Jimmy Butler or Paul George, you go for it. You need these guys. You want to get over the top. Boston doesn’t praise winning the Eastern Conference. They’re going for a championship.”
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