Should the Celtics try to trade for Mike Conley this offseason? One proposal thinks so

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While Danny Ainge’s former team is locked in a battle with the Golden State Warriors for the NBA title, his current team is reeling. On Sunday, Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder stepped down from his position, much to the dismay of star guard Donovan Mitchell. Utah’s bowing out to the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs this season cast doubt on the future of the Jazz’s core, which features defensive anchor Rudy Gobert and Mitchell.

Synder’s resignation, especially given Mitchell’s affinity for the head coach, is the latest tidal wave to approach a wooden skiff already suffering from leaks in its hull.

Naturally, Ainge’s inclination is to try to reshape the roster around the core instead of leaning into a rebuild.

That means it’s time to fire up the trade machine. Of course, who better for Ainge to contact than his old buddy Brad Stevens, the president of basketball operations for Ainge’s former team, the Boston Celtics.

The Salt Lake Tribune posed what it deems to be an interesting scenario:

Boston gets Mike Conley and Utah’s 2026 first-round pick.

Utah gets Derrick White and Daniel Theis.

The Tribune seems to reason that Boston upgrades its playmaking, and Utah gets younger with more defensive upside in the backcourt and playable depth behind Gobert.

Let’s assess Boston’s side of the deal first. Much of the attraction here comes from whether or not you believe Marcus Smart is a point guard. If you do, then the tangible return isn’t doing much for you. The only thing that might make it a scenario worth discussing in Boston is that the Celtics receive a future first-round pick.

They may be very interested in betting on a Jazz rebuild by 2026. In that case, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are still in their primes and the Celtics are adding another lottery pick to their core.

If you don’t think Smart is a point guard, then this trade makes much more sense. Conley adds playmaking and shooting while functioning highly as a secondary ball-handler. He’s not going to take touches from Tatum, and he can play off the ball despite being a point guard in the more traditional sense.

On the other hand, there is something to be said about not breaking up significant rotation pieces after making it to the Finals, win or lose. The Celtics were heating up before they acquired Derrick White at the trade deadline. But, he makes quick decisions on offense and is quite adept at defending across multiple positions.

In other words, he’s a role player who fits what Boston is looking to do seamlessly. While you’re not getting rid of your top-end talent, that might be a case of subtraction by subtraction.

On Utah’s side, I don’t think that deal makes much sense at all. Derrick White is the core piece of the deal, and he isn’t worth sacrificing a future first-round pick when you may have to acknowledge a rebuild in the next few years.

The Jazz improve their perimeter defense, but I’m not convinced it’s enough to elevate them from a perennial first- or second-round exit to a Finals contender. If that box cannot be checked off, you don’t sacrifice a first-round pick.

This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook!

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