NBA Draft Rumors: Celtics open to trade talks involving these players

The Boston Celtics have never gone without a first-round pick in the NBA draft in a row. Could Brad Stevens keep this series alive?

The Celtics have just one second-round pick in the 2022 NBA draft (No. 53 overall) after trading their first-round pick to the San Antonio Spurs in a Derrick White trade. But there were rumors that Boston could try to trade in the first round.

Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer added to those rumors Wednesday by listing the Celtics, Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons and Danny Ainge’s Utah Jazz as four teams “trying to acquire picks in the back half of the first round.”

NBA rumours: Latest trade hail about Collins, Beal and more entering the draft

What would it take for Boston to jump from 53rd place to an election in their 20s or late teens? Fischer reports that the C’s “apparently are willing to hold talks about rotary players like Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard, but only for the right price.”

The Celtics would have to give a lot of thought to the prospect of parting ways with a rotation player, even if it’s a reserve like Pritchard or possibly Aaron Nesmith. That team came within just two wins of an NBA championship, and while the bench unit battled the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, Stevens emphasized the importance of roster cohesion in his press conference earlier this week.

“Our group, in particular, isn’t so much about blindly recruiting talent as it is about building a team,” Stevens said.

On the other hand, talent is up for grabs in the back half of the first round. There, the Celtics found starting center Robert Williams (No. 27 overall in 2018) and key reserves Grant Williams (No. 22 overall in 2019) and Pritchard (No. 26 overall in 2020).

The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor has singled out LSU’s Tari Eason — a versatile winger who can defend multiple positions and is a strong playmaker — as a potential first-round target for the Cs if they’re promoted. Boston could also be looking to land an athletic big man like Arizona’s Christian Koloko, who just won Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and could be a tempting replacement for Robert Williams.

Given Grant Williams’ postseason contributions and his strong fit into the Celtics’ system, it seems unlikely Boston would move him unless given a very strong back package. However, it appears the C’s are at least exploring their options, so fans should tune in to the first round at 8 p.m. ET Thursday night to see if Stevens has a trick up his sleeve.

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