(clip from the podcast where Josh & Joe discuss the possibility of Embiid coming to Boston)
For those of us watching the Celtics rebuild with a close eye, one thing has become apparent. The Boston Celtics need a center that can protect the rim and give them an added dimension offensively. The ping pong balls didn’t fall the right way for the Celtics so they missed out on Joel Embiid. However, according to a report, Joel Embiid might not be out of the question if the Celtics still had an interest this offseason.
In an article posted by Mark Heisler of Forbes.com, Heisler drops a bomb in the fourth paragraph:
In an unnoticed development at last week’s trade deadline, the 76ers were still trying to trade up for a top pick in this draft, indicating a willingness to talk about Joel Embiid or any player on their team, an NBA source told Forbes.com.
According to multiple reports, the Celtics were interested in drafting Joel Embiid if the balls dropped their way on draft night, but they didn’t. Embiid went number three overall to the 76ers and the hope for a center of the future in Boston went with him. In a separate article by ProBasketballTalk, Brett Pollakoff adds to the Embiid trade discussion:
A “willingness to talk” is not the same as offering up players in trade. Of course Hinkie [Sixers GM] is willing to talk about trading anyone on his team; that’s essentially a big part of his job. If someone really wanted Embiid and came calling with some insane offer of multiple No.1 picks, he’d be a fool to shut those conversations down.
What is unfathomable to me is how Ainge could not be all over this at the trade deadline. No one has more first round picks than the Boston Celtics afterall. Sure, there’s an injury history there, but envision a 20-year old 7-footer that can start his career in Boston. Imagine a potential super star that you can mold and is making just $4.83 million next season and $6.1 million the season after.
Imagine a roster anchored by Embiid, Sullinger and Smart for years to come. Imagine a starting five next season of Embiid, Smart, Thomas, Sullinger and Bass with Bradley coming off the bench. Would that be good enough to make 4th or 5th seed in the NBA Eastern Conference that is a crap shoot? I say yes.
I may say yes, but Ainge apparently said no refusing to part with a few first round picks to get Embiid this trade deadline. If that’s all it took to get Embiid, I wonder why it wasn’t done. If Ainge was willing to take the risk at draft time, why isn’t he now willing to make the risk? Embiid hasn’t played, but that was known heading into the draft as he recovers from surgery on his foot.
There could be a center that Ainge has his eye on in the draft, but waiting for ping-pong balls to fall your way isn’t going to get you anywhere and that is proven. I prefer the proactive approach. With Embiid’s age and a typical 80% recovery rate from his injury, I’d take my chance with a young team paired with this head coach.