Boston Celtics Rumors: 3 potential Terry Rozier trades that work

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Boston Celtics (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Boston Celtics (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns get: Terry Rozier, Guerschon Yabusele

Boston Celtics get: Dragan Bender, 2020 2nd round pick

I started out writing this one feeling pretty bored, just because it’s been discussed to death. It is no secret that the Phoenix Suns have been pretty desperate for a point guard for a long time, and, accordingly, they’ve been involved in rumors every time one seems available. So, naturally, the entire Celtics blogosphere has been tossing around Rozier-Suns trade ideas, and I wasn’t excited about adding another take to the pile.

Then I started thinking about Dragan Bender, and that’s when my boredom turned into excitement. This could be big for Boston.

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Let’s start on the Suns’ side. Terry Rozier could step in and start at point guard on day one, immediately filling their biggest hole. He’s a combo guard/point guard who can handle the ball or spot up, which is exactly the kind of backcourt sidekick you’d want to pair with Devin Booker. Booker should be their engine, and Rozier’s presence won’t take away from that. But Rozier can also handle for a while and give the poor kid a break now and then.

Everyone is so worked up about how great a fit Rozier would be in Phoenix that they’re seemingly forgetting that the Celtics need to get something good too (don’t forget about Daniel Ainge, he who guarded the treasure chest of draft doubloons for many moons more than the scriptures foretold). Dragan Bender doesn’t seem to be on Celtics fans’ radar too much, but he could be a huge scoop for them.

Why, you ask? Bender has had a miserable, underachieving career thus far, worthy of eliciting the “bust” label – why, you ask, should Boston even entertain trading for him?

A couple things here.

For starters, remember for a moment that this is the Phoenix Suns we’re talking about. This is where dreams go to die. Many a promising prospect has gone to Phoenix, only to significantly underwhelm. We shouldn’t make any conclusions about the organization without knowing what’s going on on the inside; on the flip side, we also shouldn’t rush to conclusions about Bender because of what he’s shown in Phoenix. It’s possible he’d perform very differently in a different environment.

His production has been poor so far, but his skill set is real. He’s a seven-footer with an already good jump shot that could develop into elite territory. He has great feel for the game, as evidenced by his underrated playmaking ability as the roll man and his ability to run the fast break as a ballhandler.

The weaknesses are also real. He can’t score inside, defend, or rebound, and he doesn’t seem to have a good sense of when to be aggressive. He’s reminiscent of Kelly Olynk, who always felt like he could be so much more on offense but just didn’t have that scorer’s mentality.

For those of you whose brains are stuck on an endless loop of “Bender stinks, you don’t know what you’re talking about, Bender stinks, you don’t know what you’re talking about,” let’s get on the same page. Yes, Bender has been bad. Not just mediocre, but bad. We’re on the same page. Apart from three-point shooting, he has excelled in not a single facet of the game he plays professionally.

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But here’s why the Boston Celtics should pull the trigger anyway. The one position that doesn’t seem secure for the future (assume Irving is re-signing for now) is center, and Bender is a center/power forward who was selected top-5 not that long ago. He could be a bust, but he’s so young that anything could happen. If the shooting progresses, he’s a stud.

If Brad Stevens could develop his natural feel for the game, he could be an excellent system big, potentially filling Al Horford’s role down the line. To get that in exchange for Rozier and Yabusele, two guys who don’t seem to be in Boston’s long-term plans, would be fantastic.