Danny Ainge, the president of basketball operations for the Boston Celtics, has made it clear that he is willing to break up Boston's Big Three—Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen—if the right deal comes along, according to The Boston Globe.
This comes two days after Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that teams have called the Celtics to inquire about Paul Pierce.
The right deal for the Celtics means clearing cap space for the future and getting young talent that Boston can build upon going into the next few years.
While there aren't many teams that will be willing to give up the kind of young talent that Boston wants in return for pieces of the Big Three, there are still a few teams who should at least entertain the idea of making a trade happen.
Ahead is a list of teams and possible trade scenarios (based on speculation) that the Boston Celtics might be interested in
The Dallas Mavericks are having an average year this year, currently sitting at 8-7 on the season. One of the biggest spots on their roster at fault is the lack of production from both Shawn Marion and Lamar Odom at the small forward position.
Those two combined are averaging 16.8 ppg, which just isn't enough to help the Mavericks stay at the top of the talent in the Western Conference. There's not a high likelihood that this trade would happen because the Celtics wouldn't be able to get much in return for Pierce in terms of building blocks for the future, aside from draft picks and being able to clear cap space.
If the Mavericks could find another team to go in on this trade with them, it would be a smart move no matter what they have to give up. Owner Marc Cuban is just the man to figure out a way to make it happen. The Mavericks could give up Lamar Odom, which would make this deal a little more enticing at least.
Likelihood of Happening: Slim to None
The Cleveland Cavaliers could make things very interesting if they get into the mix of showing interest for any of the Celtics Big Three, mainly because they have quite a bit to offer Boston.
One thing the Cavaliers lack, although they are currently sitting at a better-than-expected record of 6-7, is veteran leadership. Antwan Jamison is a decent player, but he's not a leader and that is what Cleveland needs to turn the corner.
The Cavaliers could offer rookie PF Tristan Thompson, SG Daniel Gibson and 2013's first round draft pick for Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, which would be at least somewhat enticing for the Celtics who are thinking of the "next era" in Boston.
The Cavaliers could make the trade all the more tempting if they included Antwan Jamison, which is highly unlikely, but it would at least give the Celtics something tangible for right now.
Like most trades in the NBA, this one would be easier if another team hopped in to make it more attractive for the Celtics, or at least to help clear some cap space for the Celtics moving forward.
Likelihood of Happening: Slim
While the Magic aren't necessarily "lacking" when it comes to talent at the shooting guard position, I'm sure they would jump at the opportunity to get some talent to convince disgruntled star Dwight Howard to stay in Orlando at the end of the season.
The Orlando Magic could offer the Celtics shooting guard Jason Richardson or J.J Redick, in addition to rookie center Daniel Orton, which might be enticing on some level for the struggling Celtics.
The deal would be even better for the Celtics if they could manage to get Ryan Anderson, which would most likely mean moving Kevin Garnett to Orlando as well. Anderson is showing a lot of potential and production this year, which could be enticing for a Celtics front office who is looking towards the future.
Another possibility is the Celtics unloading two of the Big Three, or all three of them, to the Magic in hopes of getting Dwight Howard in a Boston jersey. While that is unlikely to happen, because Howard hasn't expressed interest in being in Boston, it's something to keep your eyes on.
Likelihood of Happening: Somewhat Possible
The Trailblazers are off to a better-than-expected start this year, with an overall record of 8-6 on the season. One of the major reasons for their success has been the emergence of players like LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews, who together are averaging more than 35 points per game this year. What is holding the Trailblazers back is depth at center and small forward.
If the Trailblazers have the cap space for both Allen and Pierce, it would be foolish not to at least make an attempt at getting both players. Adding Pierce to the Portland depth chart would be just what the Trailblazers need to help them get over the hump in the Western Conference.
The Celtics would also benefit from this trade because they could get players like emerging small forward Nicolas Batum, shooting guard Wesley Matthews and rookie power forward Chris Johnson.
The Celtics would be getting the youth they want, especially if the Blazers gave up a draft pick, and they would also be clearing up a lot of cap room for the next few years to come. The Blazers would be getting some veteran leadership that would help make them a more legitimate contender in the Western Conference.
Likelihood of Happening: Somewhat Possible
The Golden State Warriors might have a legitimate chance of breaking up Boston's Big Three. The Warriors stand a chance of actually getting a trade with Boston done because they have a lot of youth to give up that could make a trade enticing for the Celtics.
I know it might not make much sense for the Warriors to break up their core foundation of youth in David Lee, Monta Ellis, Dorell Wright and Stephen Curry, but if they want to become a legitimate contender in the Western Conference they might just have to.
The Celtics would be dumb if they weren't interested in getting Stephen Curry, and Dorell Wright or David Lee, in return for Pierce and Garnett. It would give the Warriors much needed veteran leadership, and it would give the Celtics the youth they desire.
While this is all speculation at this point, I think a Warriors and Celtics trade is very possible in the near future, mainly because it would benefit both teams involved. If the Warriors would throw in a draft pick or two, it would make a deal with the Celtics that much sweeter, and that much more realistic.
Likelihood of Happening: Realistic