First is to acquire Dwight Howard from the Rockets. This shouldn't actually cost the Celtics a lot in all reality. Dwight Howard is going to opt out of his contract with the Rockets at the end of the season and he will likely do so with any team that acquires him. I do believe that if the Celtics make run or even reach the Finals that he'd likely come back. So the Celtics would give up David Lee, Tyler Zeller, their 1st Round Pick and Dallas' First Round Pick for Howard. Lee and Zeller are both expiring contacts and trading Lee would also absorb some of Howards contract. As for the picks, neither are in the lottery but the Rockets could flip the picks with their own for a lottery pick or better players.
Second is to acquire Carmelo Anthony from the Knicks. Carmelo has a no trade clause and believes in New York, but the appeal of winning a title and playing for Brad Stevens could make him waive it. This trade would require the Celtics to give up more talent. They would give up Amir Johnson, James Young, Marcus Smart and Brooklyn's First Round Pick for Carmelo and Jose Calderon. Giving up Amir Johnson is mainly to absorb some or Carmelo's contract, plus he has a none guarantee for next year. Marcus Smart has a very high ceiling and already is a plus defender. I also believe James Young has an equally high ceiling. He's barely 20 and is already a great shooter. He really just needs more consistent playing time. Then of course there is Brooklyn's unprotected pick. Brooklyn is the third worse team in basketball and that pick has a legitimate chance of becoming the first pick. That pick could land them Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram who are both going to be elite NBA players, in my opinion. As for the Celtics they will also acquire Jose Calderon. Calderon is a better facilitator than Smart and is a better shooter. He also plays the same amounts of minutes and would make the bench better offensively.
With Carmelo Anthony I believe he is having one of the better seasons of his career when it comes defense and sharing the ball. His scoring is a bit down, but he's taking less shots however he's finding his teammates and making them better. Dwight Howard is in a similar situation when it comes to taking less shots. The difference is James Harden is a ball hog and takes a lot of bad shots. Howards offensive production is up despite taking less shots this year. He's averaging 12 rebounds a game and is still a great defender who would flourish in Stevens system.
So the Celtics would look like this.
- Isaiah Thomas 32.5 21.5/3.0/6.6 (2.0 3PTM)
- Avery Bradley 33.1 15.1/2.7/2.1 (1.6 Steals, 2.1 3PTM)
- Jae Crowder 32.1 14.1/5.6/1.9 (1.8 Steals, 1.7 3PTM)
- Carmelo Anthony 34.8 21.4/7.9/4.0
- Dwight Howard 32.3 14.6/12.0/1.5 (1.3 Blocks)
- Jose Calderon 27.6 7.5/3.1/4.1 (1.3 3PTM)
- Evan Turner 27.1 9.9/4.7/4.4
- Jonas Jerebko 13.8 3.9/3.4/0.7
- Jared Sullinger 23.4 9.9/8.5/2.3
- Kelly Olynyk 20.3 10.1/4.3/1.6 (1.3 3PTM)