Celtics Lead

What’s in Store For the Future of Boston’s Young Core?

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The NBA’s February 7th trade deadline is a thing of the past, and the landscape of the league has changed. Some of the biggest moves included Kristaps Porzingis heading to Dallas, Tobias Harris teaming up with Philly’s big three, and Nikola Mirotic joining the first place Bucks. Plenty of smaller moves took place as well, and lots of players have a new city to call home.

Despite all of the moves and craziness, some teams chose to move forward with what they already had. One such team is the Boston Celtics, who have stockpiled asset after asset, but decided not to use them. Here’s a look at what the Celtics could do with their young core  moving forward.

Jayson Tatum

Jayson Tatum has been a star since the moment he entered the league. After being drafted by the Celtics with the third overall pick in 2017, he was thrusted into the starting lineup following injuries to key starters. In his rookie season, Tatum averaged 13.9 PPG on 47.5% shooting, along with 5.0 RPG. He helped lead the Celtics to game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals against LeBron James without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.

In his second season, Tatum has only gotten better. He’s upped his scoring to 16.4 PPG and his rebounding to 6.2 RPG. Tatum remains in the starting lineup for the Celtics, who currently sit at fourth in the east after a heartbreaking defeat to the Lakers at the hands of Rajon Rondo.

Tatum has proven himself to be valuable to the Celtics. He’s still under contract through at least 2020, (with a 2021 team option). Tatum has shown growth throughout his young NBA career, and looks like he’s a superstar in the making. The city of Boston already treats him like one, and undoubtedly would love to keep him around. The Celtics should do just that, no matter what is offered to them. Anthony Davis is tempting, but Tatum has already been in the system and brought this team to a Conference Finals that they could have won. His potential is one the greatest in the league, so why fix what’s not broken?

What to do with Tatum: Keep him, and let him become a star alongside Kyrie.

Jaylen Brown

Jaylen Brown has seen his fair share of adversity in Boston. He came in as the third overall pick in 2016, but didn’t see court time right away. He struggled to find time in the Celtics lineup his rookie season. The following year, due to injuries and stronger play from Brown, he became a starter and averaged 14.5 PPG on 46.5% shooting, along with 4.9 RPG. He was a key piece of the Celtics’ young core that brought the Celtics within one game of the NBA Finals last season.

Brown struggled again early in the season, experiencing trouble shooting the ball consistently well. As the season has progressed, though, so has his level of play. Currently, he’s shooting the ball 45.3% while averaging 12.8 PPG, proving himself to be a valuable role player on this team.

He’s in the second to last year of his contract, which makes things tricky. It isn’t yet known if he’ll accept a qualifying offer for the 2020-21 season. If Jaylen expresses a desire to stay in Boston then he’ll sign the offer sheet, then get extended the following season. If not, they should look into trades as soon as possible.

One possible trade could be sending him to the Timberwolves in exchange for Robert Covington. Covington is a solid 3 and D player who excels on the defensive end. He’s also signed through 2021-22 with no player or team options, so the Celtics would get at least two seasons with him.

What to do with Brown: Wait until he expresses his interest, act quickly if he doesn’t.

Terry Rozier

Terry Rozier has been rock solid for the Celtics ever since he was drafted. He excels as a rebounder for his size, and has made himself a reliable backup point guard. He was a force in the playoffs last year, owning the Bucks in the first round.

There is still room to grow for Rozier, though. He’s shooting 37.9% for his career, an inefficient number. He’s never shot higher than 39.5% in a season, which is cause for concern. Still, he’s considered one of the better backup point guards in the league. This season, he’s averaging 9.1 PPG, 4.2 RPG and 3.2 APG in just 23 minutes per contest off the bench. Rozier has always played better as a starter, which is another reason teams are interested in his services. Should he be given the right opportunity, he could excel and take his game to a whole other level.

Phoenix is in desperate need of another guard to play alongside Devin Booker, who has been forced to play the point this season. Rozier could be the perfect addition to the Suns’ backcourt and give them the help they need.

A potential trade could be Rozier and a pick for Mikal Bridges. Phoenix could easily replace Bridges in the starting lineup with Kelly Oubre, and the Celtics would be getting a solid bench player in return. Bridges could remain under contract through 2022 if the Celtics accept the team options in his contract, and Rozier would likely re-sign to be a starter in Phoenix.

What to do with Rozier: Re-sign Rozier over the summer and send him to Phoenix for a good young player.

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