The 2021-22 NBA season is just weeks away and those Boston Celtics rumors are already running rampant as to who the team should target in the summer of 2022.
With a max spot opening, the conclusion is that Bradley Beal will end up in Boston teaming up with his good buddy Jayson Tatum. But what if that does not happen? Who is the C’s fall-back guy or in this case, which impending free agent makes the most sense in Boston? Well, look no further than Chicago Bulls star and Olympic gold medalist Zach LaVine.
Of course, this all depends on if LaVine doesn’t re-sign with the Bulls team that looks to be on the rise. It also will depend on if the 26-year-old rising star will view a chance to team up with Tatum and Jaylen Brown as his chance to really shine.
Can Celtics lure Zach LaVine to Boston?
Obviously, the money talks, but so does the opportunity to win. LaVine hasn’t had a lot of that during his young career in Chicago, which makes him a player worth watching during the season as Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe has reported.
When talking about bold moves Celtics GM Brad Stevens can make moving forward, Washburn sparked some thought in mentioning LaVine. Here is what he had to say in his Boston Globe column, via NBC Sports:
"“A potential Celtics free agent target could be Chicago’s Zach LaVine, who is entering the final year of his contract. He will have to prove he can lead the Bulls to the playoffs before a contract extension. LaVine changed representation recently and signed with Klutch Sports, which is usually the move for players who want to maximize their free agent potential. LaVine, 26, just coming off helping Team USA to the gold medal, will ask for a maximum contract in the open market. The Olympic experience may have enhanced LaVine’s value because he was asked to be a three-and-D player, sparking the Americans with his full-court defense and ability to run the floor. In the case that Bradley Beal decides to stay in Washington, LaVine could be the Celtics’ No. 1 target.”"
While all the speculation and fascination is on Beal, Washburn has opened up an interesting possibility as LaVine would give the Boston Celtics that scoring point guard they have been looking for, which in a way makes him a better option than Beal even if the Wizards pending free agent is still on the market.
Let’s delve into it a bit.
Zach LaVine is better for the Boston Celtics than Bradley Beal
If you are a Celtics fan, you have watched LaVine torch the team the last few seasons.
He’s athletic, he can score from anywhere on the court and as Washburn pointed out, he plays great defense.
Furthermore, he would be familiar with both Jayson Tatum and new Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka from this past summer’s experience at the Tokyo Olympics. If he does explore the open market, the Celtics star and coach will have an opportunity to recruit, if they haven’t already done that during their time together at the Olympics.
As rumors have suggested, Tatum more than likely would have his attention set on his good buddy Beal, but for the interest of the team, LeVine would be a better fit because of Jaylen Brown.
Although Beal is a better scorer, him and Brown would pretty much be the same player and how would the Beal and Tatum friendship impact Brown as a part of that Big 3? There could be some potential drama there off the court. There is drama potential with any max player the Celtics bring in (if they can attract any), but LaVine at the point guard position gives the team an overall upgrade at the position over both Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker in that LaVine wouldn’t be a liability defensively.
He would also combine to make a pretty good backcourt with Marcus Smart. When Smart is on the floor, LaVine moves into that shooting guard role which would make the Boston Celtics a more potent team offensively when Brown and Tatum are also on the court, while also making them a strong team defensively. It will be tough as the Bulls can offer LaVine a max of $201 million over five years, but if things don’t progress in Chicago, there is a chance he’ll look elsewhere.
That is where and when the Boston Celtics can swoop in.