Potential Targets if the Celtics Trade into the First Round

The luxury tax is of little concern to Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber. Between potential renewals for Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins and the likelihood of Golden State re-signing at least one, if not both, Gary Payton II and Kevon Looney, next season’s roster projects will cost ownership $400 million.

That alone might not persuade the Warriors to trade their 28th pick in this year’s draft. But a desire to put more responsibility on the shoulders of recent lottery picks James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody could see the defending champions parting ways with their first-round picks.

Which teams are ready to bid and who is on the board when Golden State is on the clock will be the determining factor. But according to Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney, the Warriors are at least willing to consider proposals that offer future interests, including several second-round picks.

Golden State may favor a pick early in the second round this year, but if not, the Celtics, armed with the 53rd pick in this year’s draft and three second-round picks in 2023, could prove a viable trading partner .

If an agreement is reached between this year’s finalists, potential targets for Boston include Tari Eason, a 6-foot-1 forward from LSU.

Eason is one of the draft’s most polarizing prospects and could hear his name everywhere from the end of the lottery to the end of the first round. He’s got an NBA-worthy frame, a 7’2 wingspan, a nearly 9′ standing reach and the biggest hands in this year’s class.

He is explosive, fast, enjoys contact and has a high motor. All of this means he’s a great defender who can make one-to-five changes.

Eason’s jump shot needs repairs, and he didn’t show much as a presenter at LSU. But he’s excellent at getting to the edge and scoring in the open court, and the search for contact saw him average 5.7 free-throw attempts per game last season.

If worries about him get him down far enough offensively for the Celtics to get him, he’s worth taking a risk and would fit in seamlessly on defense. But Boston would have to have confidence to develop him into a player who can contribute in a half-pitch playoff environment.

Another prospect the Celtics might be interested in is Christian Braun. The 6-foot-1 Kansas forward wants to make an impression as a role player at both ends of the field and function as an effective team defender, shooting 38.6 percent from beyond the arc last season.

There is some concern that Braun has done so on 3.3 attempts a year after converting 5.1 threes on a 34 percent clip, but he has solid mechanics, shoots well off the catch and doesn’t take many or consistent touches to stay in rhythm There’s plenty of room upstairs.

As Boston looks to bolster its bench, it could target Jaden Hardy, a microwave top scorer who played for the G League Ignite last season.

He’s six feet tall with a wingspan of nearly six feet, has the best grips in this draft class, and can create and capitalize from all three planes.

Hardy is also an effective presenter. The problem is that until now he has been a defensive liability and his sporting limitations suggest that is not about to change. Teams must decide if the trade-off is worth it and if they think it will commit enough to the defensive end of the floor to prove a net positive.

There are certainly more prospects that could intrigue the Celtics, but University of Southern California’s Isaiah Mobley rounds out this list.

The 22-year-old tall man is the older brother of Cavalier standout rookie Evan Mobley. His lack of athleticism and scoring could see him fall as low as the top 40, but there’s a lot to like about how Mobley pushes the game to the next level.

He is 1.90m tall with a wingspan of 2.10m, moves his feet well, can switch to frontfielders on the touchline and has the strength to defend at the low post.

Mobley reads the game well on both ends. He is a very effective passer when getting the ball with short rolls. He can also moderate from the elbow and demonstrates a good feel for entry passes and the ability to spot the open shooter in the corner and deliver a precise skip pass.

Last season he shot 35.2 percent from beyond the arc, but the year before that he drilled 43.6 percent of his long-range attempts. It seems like a safe bet that he’ll be a prolific pick-and-pop threat in the NBA.

If people look back and reformulate that class, it would hardly be a surprise to see Mobley going much higher than it did Thursday night.

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