Continuously hovering around a .500 record, it’s become fairly evident that Celtics president Brad Stevens is willing to shake things up ahead of the deadline. Boston is believed to be “open for business” — that is, if it doesn’t come at the expense of either Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown.
As for guard Dennis Schroder, he doesn’t possess nearly the same immunity as the two Jays. In fact, out of all the players currently under contract with the Celtics, the 28-year-old is arguably the most likely to be shipped out of town over the next handful of weeks. With the organization unlikely to be able to re-sign him this offseason, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the Celtics are floating their sparkplug guard in trade talks.
‘Dennis Would be the Clear Outgoing Piece’
Rumblings of the Celtics seeking a potential trade for Phoenix Suns big man Jalen Smith have risen in recent days. Hoops Hype’s Michael Scotto reported on January 12 that Boston has “made several calls doing due diligence,” including to Phoenix regarding the prospect of plucking the 2020 No. 10 overall pick out of the Suns’ frontcourt. On January 14, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer added to the Smith speculation, claiming on “The Solar Panel” podcast that the Celtics and the San Antonio Spurs are the only two teams he’s heard as “legitimate landing spots” for the 21-year-old dating back to last summer.
As for who else was discussed during those calls of “due diligence” to Phoenix, it sounds as if Schroder was floated by the C’s as potential compensation in a package.
“Yeah, I have good reason to believe that was the offer that Boston made,” Fischer said in regards to a possible Schroder-Smith flip. “I think Dennis would be the clear outgoing piece since their salaries match and Boston is looking to offload him to replace him with a younger player who will probably be making less money.”
The latest Celtics news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Celtics newsletter here!
Celtics Play a Risky Game?
Smith has seen his stock rise of late thanks to more minutes amid spotty availability from Deandre Ayton and JaVale McGee. The Maryland product put together a tantalizing six-game span over the holiday season where he averaged 15.8 points and 10.2 rebounds per contest, including a 19-point, seven-rebound performance in a 123-108 loss to the Celtics on December 31.
Yet, while Smith certainly boasts intriguing upside, Boston could be playing a dangerous game if they ultimately decide to pull the trigger on a deal. With the Suns opting against picking up his rookie option earlier this year, the Celtics run the risk of losing him as an unrestricted free agent after the conclusion of this season. With that in mind, Stevens and company could be looking at a scenario where both Smith and Schroder are rental players. And if that’s the case, you would think they’d prioritize the latter to close out the second half of the season.
Then again, taking a gamble on Smith may be better than the other possible compensation the Celtics could yield for Schroder on the open market, via Brian Robb of Mass Live:
I think a couple of second-round picks would probably be a fair expectation for Schroder at the trade deadline. Perhaps a protected first if the Celtics also take back a bad contract as part of any deal. I don’t really see much benefit to adding another veteran with Schroder like Jeff Green since all you are doing there is getting older with an inferior player (even though Green would fill a need on this roster).
Celtics Floated Dennis Schroder in Trade Offer for Recent Top-10 Pick: Report