The Boston Celtics shook up their roster by trading point guard Kemba Walker to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday. With star forwards Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, Boston can look for a Walker replacement at PG who focuses more on playmaking while the wings shoulder the offensive load next season.
Boston is almost capped out, which could limit them to pursuing veterans on cheap one-year deals. Here's three likely players who could fill in at point guard for the Celtics.
Celtics Free Agent Targets 2021
3. Lonzo Ball
Speculation is running rampant regarding the Celtics making a move for restricted free agent Lonzo Ball. The stud playmaker took steps to elevate his scoring this season, averaging a career-best 14.6 points and 37.8% from 3-point range while adding 5.7 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game. Ball can find several ways to impact a game, including defensively, with the point guard never averaging lower than 1.4 steals per game over his four NBA seasons. His fit is obvious alongside Tatum and Brown, adding shooting and playmaking at PG that would be perfect for this team. Ball is expected to command near-max money this summer, but his relationship with the New Orleans Pelicans seems beyond repair. Boston could work out a sign-and-trade for the restricted free agent by offering Marcus Smart and Tristan Thompson so New Orleans doesn't lose their talented player for nothing.
2. Elfrid Payton
If the Celtics instead look to maintain flexibility for 2022, they could opt to sign a cheaper veteran on a one-year deal. Elfrid Payton will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and his playmaking could be a great complement to the stars on the wing. Payton owns a career average of 6.2 APG; he also put up 7.2 and 7.6 APG in two seasons while playing starter-level minutes during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 campaigns. The former No. 10 pick won't command a ton of shots either, but he's a career 10.9 PPG scorer who wouldn't be an absolute liability. Payton isn't be a flashy name, yet he's a proven distributor that should be affordable in free agency.
1. T.J. McConnell
Fellow unrestricted free agent T.J. McConnell presents another option for Boston if they opt for a less-pricey veteran. The Indiana Pacers point guard had a career year by putting up highs in points (8.6), assists (6.6), rebounds (3.7) and steals (1.9) per game this season. He has a similar do-it-all nature as Ball, but shouldn't command nearly as big of a payday as the current Pelicans guard. McConnell boasts his fair share of playoff experience as well, and the veteran could provide a steady hand for the Celtics while they look to bounce back during the 2021-22 season.
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Isaiah De Los Santos is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Isaiah De Los Santos also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username zayyy05328. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.