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The Boston Celtics have reportedly been active in trade discussions ahead of the 2023 NBA draft, and it appears the franchise is looking to bolster its center depth.
Boston checked in with the Pistons about Isaiah Stewart’s availability, according to The Athletic’s James L. Edwards, who added that he doesn’t envision Detroit moving the big man “at all” this summer.
The Celtics enter the 2023-24 season with Al Horford and Robert Williams III as their leading centers. While that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it has been clear for some time that Boston needs to make an upgrade at the position.
Horford recently turned 37 on June 3, and his production dropped off in 2022-23 compared to his first season back in Boston during the 2021-22 campaign. In 63 games, he averaged 9.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 blocks while shooting 47.6 percent from the floor and 44.6 percent from deep.
The five-time All-Star’s performance during the 2023 playoffs was particularly upsetting as he averaged just 6.7 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.7 blocks in 20 games while shooting 38.6 percent from the floor and 29.8 percent from beyond the arc.
Williams, meanwhile, remains a health concern for the Celtics.
The 25-year-old has been dealing with a lingering knee ailment since the 2021-22 campaign and only appeared in 35 games during the 2022-23 season. While he is effective when healthy, the Celtics could still use an upgrade as the franchise tries to maximize its time with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
Williams averaged 8.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists last season while shooting 74.7 percent from the floor. During the playoffs, he averaged 7.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 20 games while shooting 78.8 percent from the floor.
Stewart, 22, is coming off his best statistical season in Detroit, averaging 11.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 50 games during the 2022-23 campaign while shooting 44.2 percent from the floor.
The New York native is also pretty good at shooting the three-ball and he would fit well in Boston’s offensive scheme. He shot 32.7 percent from deep last season and is shooting 32.8 percent from three-point range during his career.
While the Pistons might not be open to moving Stewart, it’s something the franchise could definitely explore as he’s set to become a restricted free agent after the 2023-24 season.
Additionally, Detroit has some solid center depth with James Wiseman and Jalen Duren on board, making Stewart somewhat expendable.
After being eliminated by the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, it’s going to be interesting to see what changes the Celtics make this summer in an effort to return to the NBA Finals in 2024.