Celtics deal for Plumlee, Ellington in Athletic analyst’s proposed trade

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Justin Quinn
·3 min read
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If you aren’t a fan of trade proposals, you might want to crawl into a basketball media cave for a while and hibernate. Even in a regular season, the Boston Celtics typically feature heavily in such articles that proliferate like an out-of-control fungus in the month ahead of the NBA trade deadline, and this season figures to be worse than usual in that regard.

With an up-and-down season and middling record to match it with expectations of contention still gripping the fanbase given the two All-Star wings (Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum) the team has on its roster, that would be enough to spark a heap of speculation. Add in the massive, $28.5 million traded player exception (TPE) Boston has at its disposal, and you can see how this is going to get a little wild on the trade proposal front.

Not one to be left out, Detroit Pistons writer for The Athletic James L. Edwards III and and Athletic analyst and former NBA exec John Hollinger tried their hand at another that was a noble if faulted attempt to work out a deal between the two old rivals.

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The proposed trade would move Tristan Thompson, Javonte Green and a first-round pick in 2022 to the Pistons in exchange for center Mason Plumlee and shooting guard Wayne Ellington. Their reasoning is that the Celtics need shooting on the perimeter off the bench (they do) and that Plumlee would be an upgrade over big man Tristan Thompson. And while the Duke product indeed may be a very small upgrade in terms of rim protection, he is overall a worse defender in the 31st percentile according to Synergy to Thompson's 43rd. https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1368989520868347904?s=20

Their differences on offense are negligible when considering the bigger issue at hand -- namely burning assets to complete a deal that needs to convert Thompson contract into wing depth while opening up space for Robert Williams III to spread his wings. The important context that shouldn't be ignored is that this deal is framed as "if Boston strikes out at the deadline," which matters. But the TPE will still be there in the offseason even if it may not have as many good targets, and with Ellington on an expiring deal, the Celtics could find themselves trying to do the same work this summer with one less draft pick and player both from that trade to do it with. https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1368668942546374660?s=20

A more realistic option for both sides would be to move Ellington alone in exchange for a young fringe player like Carsen Edwards with cash to cover his salary and a second-round pick if no greater offers for Detroit are in the offing for the Man with the Golden Arm. Picking up a draft asset with a low-risk player under contract who might yet turn into a useful rotation player with the run he deserves (and the Pistons could provide) seems a much more plausible "deadline strikeout" deal. This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook! [lawrence-related id=47552,47549,47536,47532] [listicle id=47508]

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