Trade Deadline Marathon: Clippers and Celtics Tinker, Pistons Get an Asset
Celtics receive: PG Lou Williams, PF Blake Griffin
Pistons receive: PG Kemba Walker, SF Aaron Nesmith, 2021 1st round pick via BOS (Top-5 Protected)
Clippers receive: PG Dennis Smith Jr., F Grant Williams, 2021 2nd round pick via BOS
Why the Celtics would do it:
Kemba Walker’s future is unclear. He could very well prove to be a high-impact player with a bit more time rehabbing his ailing knee. Or he could truly be past his prime.
If that’s the case, the Celtics would be wise to abandon ship sooner rather than later, as his hefty contract could become problematic in a hurry. Even if Walker was a 2020 All-Star, trading him could be next to impossible.
Here, Boston is able to bring in a similarly distressed asset while mitigating long-term risk. Griffin, when healthy, would actually give the C’s some needed grit and playmaking. Lou Williams, meanwhile, would be an effective replacement for Walker.
Why the Pistons would do it:
Trading Blake Griffin would relieve a world of tension for the Pistons locker room. Yes, bringing aboard Kemba Walker is a massive risk, but the upside is there. Walker, Jerami Grant, and Detroit’s promising young players quickly form the nucleus of a fun, intriguing roster.
The sharp-shooting Aaron Nesmith and a 2021 first-round pick help Detroit also build up a few assets for future team building. The nature of the pick could change, Boston could stand to be a little more generous in that department.
All told, this is a low-risk proposition for a Pistons team desperate to rack up a few wins and sell season tickets to a new arena. The tail end of the Walker contract can be dealt with at a future date.
Why the Clippers would do it:
LAC needs help at the guard position. Lou Williams is as feisty as ever, but his relationship with Paul George and the rest of the team may be more strained than we realize. And without Montrezl Harrell, Lou’s pick-and-roll game isn’t as strong - LA could stand to shuffle the deck with its guard rotation. Dennis Smith Jr. might be a poor-man’s Lou Williams.
Because the Clippers need some depth in the front court as well, bringing in the versatile Grant Williams would be helpful. He’s a bit undersized, but the second-year forward is a scrappy defender who can also spread the floor.
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