Trade No. 3: History slips away as does an NBA superstar
The Boston Celtics were in danger of being swept out of the Eastern Conference Finals by a Miami Heat team that finished the regular season with a negative point differential. Even Playoff Jimmy Butler shouldn’t have been able to touch this Boston team.
However, the Celtics are on track to make the most miraculous comeback in NBA history. No team has ever come back from down 0-3 to win a playoff series – Boston has won three straight to force a Game 7 at home.
Before the incredible three-game win streak, though, there was real talk of the Celtics finally splitting up the pair of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Perhaps the duo had simply run its course.
Brown then became a slightly more realistic pipe dream for Portland, but there’s a good chance the Celtics run it back now, regardless of what happens in Game 7. And if Boston does break up the duo, it’ll surely be Brown who’s dealt.
But what if the Celtics decided Tatum was the one to go instead?
JT is a top-10 player in the NBA, and he’s only 25. His best basketball is in front of him. If that basketball were to be played in Portland alongside Lillard, the Blazers would have a serious chance at winning next year’s title, not to mention future championships.
Tatum’s length and athleticism – when he’s engaged – provide more defense than either of James or Booker, but he would give Portland just as much offensively, if not more.
Regardless of what happens to the Celtics, though, there’s about a 0.5 percent chance they’re willing to trade Tatum (again, that’s a likely optimistic percentage).