Celtics

Why Williams or Evans would be a good fit for Celtics

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Why Williams or Evans would be a good fit for Celtics

BOSTON -- With the NBA trade deadline just 48 hours away, the Boston Celtics are actively looking at ways to upgrade their roster.

They’ve already taken a step in that direction by coming to terms on a one-year, $5 million deal with Greg Monroe that will become official sometime around or shortly after Thursday’s trade deadline.

The reason for the holdup: Boston wants to maximize its flexibility to add another potential piece to the roster via trade, with Memphis’ Tyreke Evans and Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams being at the top of Boston’s wish list.

“There’s all sorts of things that factor in whether we do deals or don’t do deals,” Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, told NBC Sports Boston. “Some of it is balancing your roster. Some of it is, the upside of some our (younger) players and being patient. Some of it is payroll. All of those things are major factors.”

And those factors have to be weighed against the cost of adding a new player in addition to the expected impact that a new player would have on the roster.

With Evans and Williams, both players bring a different set of skills to the game, obviously.

But how do they fit in with the Celtics?

Any trade will mean at least one current Celtic will be playing elsewhere.

But that departure won’t have a significant impact on how Boston plays stylistically, at either end of the floor.

Here’s a look at four factors as to why Tyreke Evans or Lou Williams would be a good fit for Boston.

TYREKE EVANS

-- At 6-foot-6, has the size and versatility to play multiple positions

-- The former Rookie of the Year shooting 39.2 percent on 3’s.

-- A nine-year veteran, has only four playoff games under his belt so he’s looking for winning culture.

-- Provides Boston with another ball-handler.

LOU WILLIAMS

-- A career 11.2 points per game scorer in the playoffs, fills a specific need of the Celtics.

-- Proven veteran who would be joining a Celtics squad that’s among the youngest teams in the NBA.

-- Role with Clippers may be reduced with Danilo Gallinari’s improved health, arrival of Avery Bradley.

-- Will help the offense with better spacing.

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Bean: Kawhi in Cleveland makes great theater for everyone

Bean: Kawhi in Cleveland makes great theater for everyone

Other than LeBron Watch, Kawhi Watch will likely be the most captivating Watch of the NBA offseason,  and there's obviously a chance the two end up in the same place. Regardless of what happens with LeBron, I've officially decided where I want Kawhi to land. 

Cleveland. 

I've got my reasons, but I'll start with why I'm not clamoring for the C's to get one of the five best players in the league. Yes, the C's can offer the best package, but I don't want them to make an offer the Spurs can't refuse. I don't want them to trade Jaylen Brown and the Sacramento pick for a flight risk. I don't want them to trade Kyrie Irving. I want them to be loaded, as they currently are, and set to add to that in the future. 

Leonard supposedly wants to be traded to the Lakers. The more well-connected basketball reporters have noted the Spurs wouldn't have any motivation to turn the Lakers into a Western Conference powerhouse, which makes sense. 

So, if it's not going to be the Lakers, make it the Cavaliers. 

This might sound ridiculous, but I want LeBron James to be a character in this Celtics group's run. One of the things that made the 2017-18 Celtics' run so exciting was that it culminated in a showdown with LeBron, the best player in the league and the centerpiece of great Celtics series past. 

I don't want the Celtics to go on runs with LeBron in a different time zone. I want battling (and beating) the best player of this generation to be part of what the Tatum Era does. If the Cavs can land Leonard, maybe that will keep James from bolting in free agency. 

They're also rumored to be inquiring about Kemba Walker's availability from Charlotte to help surround LeBron with another star.

To be fair, I wrote last week that I'm fine with LeBron going to the Lakers and even forming a super team with Kawhi and Paul George. That's because I think either that team or the Warriors would be all tuckered out by the time they got to the finals against a Celtics team that just waltzed through the East. 

That wouldn't be as fun though, especially if the Lakers kept getting eliminated by Golden State. If the Celtics have another championship run coming during the final years of LeBron's career, I want it to involve a Kyrie/LeBron matchup. I certainly want it to involve a competitive underdog, and I don't trust the 76ers for that yet. Considering they probably wouldn't be able to get much else, a team of LeBron, Kawhi and a bunch of junk still wouldn't be favored against the Celtics at full health. 

If LeBron goes somewhere West this offseason, I'd still want the Cavs to get Kawhi. Assuming Kawhi actually plays, he'd at least keep the Cavaliers a playoff team and an interesting opponent. 

Could the Cavaliers actually get Kawhi? I don't see why not. If his status as a player who can opt out after next season scares some teams away, the eighth overall pick and whatever they could get for Kevin Love would already make their offer better than whatever the Lakers would try to scrape together. Sacramento could always trump everyone by offering the second overall pick for Leonard, but that would be stupid. Then again, sometimes the Kings are stupid. 

Kawhi in Boston? Not at the likely price, and not if it means that much risk. LA? Predictable. Put Kawhi in Cleveland, keep the East exciting and give LeBron a real decision to make. 

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BREAKFAST POD: Jaylen and Rozier for Kawhi?

BREAKFAST POD: Jaylen and Rozier for Kawhi?

1:43 - Chris Mannix joined Gary Tanguay and Kyle Draper on Early Edition to discuss if the Celtics could trade up in the draft, and if the Celtics have any chance of acquiring Kawhi Leonard.

6:35 - Phil Perry talks about Albert Breer’s report that the Patriots talked with four teams (Lions, Titans, 49ers, Texans) about trading Rob Gronkowski. We also hear from Holley, Merloni, and DJ Bean about Tom Brady commenting “cuarenta y cinco” in response to an Instagram post about when he’ll retire.

10:34 - Lou Merloni and Chris Gasper debate how important it is for the Red Sox to avoid the Wild Card play-in game and win the AL East over the Yankees. 

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