Celtics

Could Bradley Beal be the next big star that the Celtics pursue?

Could Bradley Beal be the next big star that the Celtics pursue?

In the wake of the Anthony Davis trade, the Boston Celtics no longer have a superstar target in their sights. The trade market doesn't have an obvious superstar available for the first time in what feels like quite a while. But with Danny Ainge still sitting on a treasure trove of assets, the Celtics could still look to be active in attempting to acquire franchise changing players.

In an appearance on NBC Sports Boston's Arbella Early Edition, Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix gave his pick for a potential franchise cornerstone that the Celtics could target. That was Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal. Here's why Mannix thinks that Beal could be the next star-caliber player that becomes available.

I lean towards Beal just because he's the obvious guy that could be moved. Ted Leonsis, the owner in Washington, loves Bradley Beal, but a new GM could walk in there and say look, I've got John Wall probably not playing next season. Bradley Beal has three years left on his contract. He is an enormously valuable trade asset. Can you get a Bradley Beal without throwing a Jayson Tatum in a trade? I don't know. But Bradley Beal is the next big star, I think, that could be available.

And as NBC Sports Boston's Chris Forsberg went on to point out, Tatum and Beal have a relationship as they did go to the same high school. So, in the event that the Celtics did have Beal and Tatum, they would have some immediate chemistry.

The Wizards could be heading towards a rebuild, as Wall will likely miss a good chunk of the upcoming season with a torn Achilles he suffered in late January. Wall is entering the first year of a four-year, $170 million supermax extension, so if he can't get on the floor, the Wizards will have a tough time surrounding Beal with solid offensive weaponry. And if the team struggles to start the season, they could move on from Beal to jumpstart a potential rebuild.

Of course, acquiring Beal would be no easy pursuit. He is coming off a season in which he averaged 25.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 5.5 assists, all of which are career highs. He made strides as a distributor with Wall out and as Mannix pointed out, he is on a controllable contract that comes in at roughly $25 million annually, well below the max. So, if he does become available, he could be a sought after target and may require the Celtics to ship out some of their young assets.

In fact, the New Orleans Pelicans are rumored to have an interest in Beal. So, if Washington does decide to sell Beal, the Celtics will have to get into the fray and construct a package that could work for the soon-to-be 26-year-old scorer.

There's no guarantee that Beal will become available. But certainly, his scoring would be a good fit with the Celtics. It will be interesting to see what Washington decides to do with him as they navigate a difficult situation with Wall's injury.

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Report: Celtics 'quickly' shot down trade offer for Gordon Hayward

Report: Celtics 'quickly' shot down trade offer for Gordon Hayward

As Gordon Hayward struggled to return to form last season following his catastrophic ankle injury, some wondered whether the Celtics could look to move him and dump salary.

Hayward was supposed to star alongside Kyrie Irving after the C's signed him to a max contract in 2017, but obviously, things didn't go as planned. Irving apparently mulled his exit from Boston in December of last year and when it became evident he was on his way out, teams checked in about Hayward's potential availability in a deal.

But even amid what was a letdown season for Hayward and the C's, Boston was unwilling to part ways with the 29-year-old, according to one opposing NBA executive.

“After it was clear Kyrie [Irving] was leaving, I told our owner that we could maybe grab Hayward for nothing if Boston tore it down," the executive told Keith Smith of SB Nation's Celtics Blog. "He’s owed a lot of money, but only a couple of years left. We made a call, but it got shut down quickly. I think Danny [Ainge] and Brad [Stevens] know what they have in Hayward for this year and going forward. He’s going to be really good again.”

It's clear the Celtics weren't discouraged by Irving's departure and the chemistry issues that lingered throughout the 2018-19 campaign. Smith included quotes from other opposing NBA executives, who called the C's asking price for Jayson Tatum "insane" and said Boston shot down an offer for Jaylen Brown as well. President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge obviously believes in the core he put in place and has Hayward, Tatum, and Brown each at the center of the plan going forward.

With the rocky season behind them, the Celtics will have Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter in addition to that core as they look to add some much-needed positivity to the equation.

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Zion Williamson joins Jayson Tatum among latest Jordan brand signings for Nike

Zion Williamson joins Jayson Tatum among latest Jordan brand signings for Nike

Nike's Air Jordan brand has enjoyed a successful summer adding NBA stars to its roster.

Zion Williamson, the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Pelicans, has officially joined Jordan brand, the company announced Tuesday.

“I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of the Jordan Brand family,” Williamson said in a Nike statement. “Since I was a kid, I dreamed of making it to the league and having the type of impact on the game Michael Jordan had and continues to have today. He was one of those special athletes I looked up to, and I really can’t express how happy and excited I am for this journey.”

The list of talented basketball players who recently have become Jordan Brand athletes is quite impressive, and it includes Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum. Boston's 21-year-old star signed a deal with the company in June.

Tatum isn't the only Celtics player on Jordan Brand's roster.

Newly signed point guard Kemba Walker also is one of the brand's top stars. Tatum even tried to recruit Walker to sign with the Celtics in NBA free agency during a Jordan event in Paris last month.

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