It feels like the Celtics fans have been listening to “Ainge is going after Cousins” rumors twice a year, for a number years in a row, and the rumors resurfaced again over the weekend. There is no debate that Cousins is one of the premier big men in the NBA, but this might not be the smartest move for the Celtics this offseason.
Boston made their fans proud by establishing a hard working culture, making the playoffs, and giving Cleveland everything they could handle for 4 games in the first round despite having a very young group. However, it was evident in that series that the Celtics were still a superstar away from being a true contender.
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DeMarcus Cousins certainly fits that superstar role, but the Celtics would need to give up quite a bit to get him. The deal would probably need to include players like Jae Crowder, Evan Turner, or a number of other key guys that were apart of establishing the culture last season. While Cousins may have more talent than the rest of this team put together, he is not known for being a “hard worker” on the floor, and a deal for him could really diminish the hard working culture that these young guys established last season.
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Don’t get me wrong trading for the most dominant player at his position isn’t the worst idea ever, but he shouldn’t be at the top of the Celtics to do list. This is a very deep free agent class, and the Celtics wouldn’t have to deal keys guys in order to get one of them in green. There is a plethora of unrestricted superstar talent like Marc Gasol, Lamarcus Aldridge, and DeAndre Jordan that would make the Celtics instant contenders, but there are also a couple other guys that would fit in nicely.
Robin Lopez and Danny Green are the two non superstars that could really help this squad along. Robin Lopez isn’t what his brother is offensively, but he is a defensive stud, and would be a big improvement on Tyler Zeller who looked soft in the series against Cleveland. Boston only shot 30% from deep during the series against Cleveland, so Danny Green is another guy that could really help this team. He is not only among the best 3 point shooters in the NBA, but has shown the ability to knock down clutch shots in the playoffs.
Boston looks like they are really starting to build something special, but they need to add to the right pieces to this puzzle in order to grow into a true contender. Their first priority needs to be getting the guys that established the hard working culture back in green, and then looking to grow this team via free agency. If they fail to do so, then considering a trade for Cousins is the next best option, but I wouldn’t consider it until then.