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The Celtics Desperately Need Shooting Help So Here's A Look At How Brad Stevens Could Potentially Get It

The Celts need shooting help. You know it, I know it, Ime knows it, Brad knows it, everyone knows it. Call 15 games a small sample size if you want, but this is a larger issue that has honestly plagued this team for the past two plus years. As far as I'm concerned it's never too early to look around and see what options might present itself by the time we get to the trade deadline because I think we can all agree that Brad has to do something. The idea that they can just rely on their young players developing into being that reliable shooting option isn't exactly working out and we have no signs that Ime is actually going to play those guys anyway. 

To do this exercise, let's first look at the tools that Brad even has to work with

They also have a series of Exceptions

1. $6.8M from Kemba

2. $9.7M from Tristan Thompson

3. $17.1M from Evan Fournier

You'll see from that graphic there are some moveable contracts here. What I'm not going to do is assume Brad trades Smart or Rob because to do that they are going to need to bring back a caliber of player that we in no way know is available right now. I also think that he would hold onto those contracts until the summer in the event there's a bigger deal to be had. 

So it's not as if Brad doesn't have the tools at his disposal to upgrade the shooting on this roster. Now the question becomes what players could theoretically be for sale come the deadline? It's a mixed bag of players, but here are a couple that pique my interest. 

Buddy Hield: 40% 3P% on 10.7 3P / $22M

When it comes to stuff like this, the Kings will always have to be included. They are sliding, Luke Walton is another loss away from being fired, and they tried to trade him just this past offseason. That tells me that if we get to the deadline and the Kings are out of it, they will once again be looking to move pieces. Hield is an obvious choice given what he's shown as a high volume three point shooter, but he's expensive. This is not something that will be able to be done with a TPE. You're going to have to give up multiple players and probably at least 1 first round pick to even get the Kings to entertain the idea. 

The question then becomes if the Kings are going to blow it up and start over, could a package around Richardson/Juancho/Romeo or Nesmith and a pick be enough? Richardson will be an expiring next year, Juancho is non guaranteed and they could take back a young wing prospect and a pick. It probably won't be the best offer they get for Hield if they make him available, but I certainly call and ask. He's already used to coming off the bench in SAC, and I think with what you lose defensively it might be worth what you gain as a floor spacer.

Jeremy Lamb: 40% 3P% on 2.9 3PA / $10.5M

Lamb is an interesting option because he's on a team that might be out of it come February, and he's an expiring deal set to become a UFA this summer. With TJ Warren due back eventually, and the rise of Just HOliday and Chris Duarte, it's not shocking to think that maybe Lamb could be had if the Pacers don't see him as part of their future. Better to get something back than lose a player for nothing. 

Given his salary, Brad could go a few ways. He could move players, maybe the Pacers would be open to having the additional year of security with Richardson's deal, or maybe you then use part of the Fournier TPE and just give up some picks for a player that might be leaving. I'm less thrilled about that plan because as we just saw with Evan Fournier, using a big chunk of your TPE on a player that could immediately leave isn't always the best path. Ainge took that risk and it backfired. Will Brad do the same? 

My thought is if it comes to that TPE, the player would have to be better than Lamb if he were to be an expiring contract. But if they can match salaries, Lamb is a proven shooter (over 40% last two years) that is also used to coming off the bench. He's barely playing in IND (14 mpg), so his price can't be that high.

Doug McDermott: 46% 3P% on 4.7 3PA / $13.5M

The Spurs are 4-10. This could very well be another tough year and a season in which Pop finally smashes the rebuild button. If that's the case, Dougie McBuckets is an interesting idea. His salary is at a place where you could find the money to match, and he also fits into the Fournier TPE if the Spurs decide they just want picks and maybe one young player. Where he differs from Lamb is McDermott has two more guaranteed years as $13M after this season, so it would not be a case where they run the risk of losing him after the season.

I have no idea if Pop loves this dude and would never move him, but of the available options he does make a lot of sense from a skillset standpoint. At the same time, he starts in SA and plays 25 minutes a night so who knows if he's even going to be available. But if the Spurs are in the tank come February, maybe they try and get the most they can out of a 30 year old shooter. 

Eric Gordon: 46% 3P% on 4.7 3PA / $18.8M

With Gordon, we see a similar situation as Hield. He's on a team that stinks and is most definitely going to be for sale come February, but he has an expensive price tag. This is not someone who fits into a TPE, which means you need to match money. With the Rockets going with a full on youth movement, who nows if they would even be interested in vets, but the Celts can offer expiring/low years deals that most rebuilding teams take so they can have the future cap space. 

While Gordon is older and has injury concerns which is the last thing this roster needs, he's about as proven a shooter as you'll probably find on the trade deadline market. There's always the chance of a buyout, but I find that unlikely. He's another guy that's already coming off the bench so he could slide right in, but also has a good amount of starting experience in the event you need to spot start someone. Defensively it's a disaster, but there are going to be flaws with all these guys. That's why they would be available in the first place. 

Garrett Temple: 40% 3P% on 2.9 3PA / $5.1M

The Pelicans are maybe the worst team in the league, so I imagine a lot of their roster will be up for sale, including 35 year old Temple. That age scares me a little, but he is shooting 40% and would fit under the Kemba TPE. You could most likely toss NO a 2nd round pick and call it a deal. 

Is he a flashy option? God no. But he's worth mentioning given his splits and price.

Bryn Forbes: 42% 3P% on 2.5 3PA / $4.5M

Another player on the Spurs I'd be curious about if things go south. Forbes is only playing 11 minutes a night so it's not like he's some sort of main piece. But what he can do is knock down open threes. He's also someone that would fit into the Kemba TPE. He's smaller so you're going to have defensive issues, but you certainly don't have to worry about his floor spacing. He is an expiring so you do run the risk of using the TPE on a player that could leave, but it's a small TPE so that's fine. It's the 17M one you don't want to lose for nothing.

So as you can see, it's a mixed bag. I wouldn't say any of these guys should have you over the moon, but I do think it's important to look at what is actually out there on the market that addresses a pretty glaring need. There's always the potential for a bigger deal involving bigger named players, but that feels silly to try and predict at this point of the season. That list above is much more realistic given all these guys play on teams that stink. 

Unless things magically change and we see someone like Aaron Nesmith not only get consistent run but also start to knock down shots consistently, Brad has to do something. He has the tools to do it and we know he isn't shy about pulling the trigger. If he doesn't my concern is the same issues we saw last night against the Hawks will creep up all year long and as a result this team will continue to hover around .500. In today's NBA you need guys who can hit shots. You need to make defenses respect your floor spacing so you can create driving lanes for the Jays. The Celts are at the bottom of the league in outside shooting and their record reflects that.

This is no longer Ainge's problem. Brad constructed this roster and it's now on him to address a glaring issue. Time will tell if he can actually pull it off.