Predicting In-Season Trades the Boston Celtics Will Need to Make
The Boston Celtics may be deep, but like any other team, they might have to make some moves during the season. Injuries happen, as do things like underperformance. The Celtics may have to add other parts through trades during the year to remedy such issues.
On paper, Boston looks good. Really good. The C's don't have any major holes, as they appear incredibly well-rounded. That said, Keyon Dooling just retired, leaving Rajon Rondo as the only true point guard on the roster. Will they have to make a move to fix that at some point?
Up front, the Celtics have a whole lot of depth behind Kevin Garnett, but not a whole lot of quality. Will players such as Chris Wilcox, Jason Collins and Darko Milicic be able to fill in adequately for Garnett, or will Boston be forced to look elsewhere for a backup center?
See? You can do this for every single team in the league. No club is invincible.
Now that the stage has been set, what kind of moves can the C's potentially make this year?
Trade for a Big Man: Emeka Okafor
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This may sound unrealistic at first, but let me paint the picture for you.
Excluding Okafor, Washington has a solid rotation of Nene, Kevin Seraphin, Jan Vesely and Trevor Booker patrolling the paint. We all know the kind of player Nene is, both Seraphin and Vesely have high ceilings, and Booker is one of the most underrated players in the NBA. So, the Wizards don't really need Okafor.
If Washington is in a position where it has no chance to make the playoffs and Okafor is stunting the growth of its young bigs, fully expect the Wizards to try and deal the 30-year-old center.
That's where the Celtics could come in. Okafor has two years and close to $30 million left on his deal (the money would obviously decrease by the trade deadline), so Boston would have to finagle quite a bit to make it work. The question is, what will the C's have to sacrifice for the UConn product?
In this scenario, the Celtics would have to hope that Washington would just want to unload the remaining money on Okafor's contract and not ask for too much in return (don't discount that possibility). I don't see Boston trading away Fab Melo for the likes of Emeka.
Trade for a Big Man: Samuel Dalembert
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This one is probably more within the realm of possibility.
Samuel Dalembert arrived with the Milwaukee Bucks this offseason when the Houston Rockets sent him there prior to the draft. Now, the Bucks look to be a playoff contender, but if the trade deadline comes and they don't feel very good about their chances, will they look to deal Dalembert?
Dalembert's contract expires at the end of the year, so it would be nice for Milwaukee to get something in return for the center instead of merely letting him walk. This also makes things easy on the Celtics, as it's not like they'd have to shell out a lot of cash to acquire him. They also wouldn't have to give up too much in return.
Of course, the thing with both Okafor and Dalembert is that both will want to start, and Garnett is currently Boston's starting center. Would the C's move K.G. back to power forward and send Brandon Bass to the bench even though their season turned around when Doc Rivers inserted Garnett at center last year?
In the case of either Okafor or Dalembert, I think you'd have to make an exception. Dalembert averaged 11.4 rebounds per 36 minutes in 2012, and the Celtics need as much rebounding as they can get. He also shot 50.6 percent from the floor and a very impressive 79.6 percent from the free throw line. The guy is a good player.
Sign a Big Man: Kenyon Martin
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Okay, so this isn't a trade, but there is a very good chance that Kenyon Martin is still available as a free agent around the trade deadline.
Well, Martin refuses to sign for the veteran's minimum, and no team seems willing to offer him anything more than that at the moment. The Celtics have expressed interest in him this offseason, but it appears that they do not want to use their bi-annual exception on him. Yet.
We all know what happens around the deadline. Good players tend to get waived, and other players don't sign in the summer because they know they are likely to get paid more money by a contender looking for that final piece in the middle of the season.
K-Mart could end up being the biggest prize when that time comes, and I could certainly see Boston pulling the trigger. Martin may not be the player he once was, but he is still productive. He averaged 3.5 blocks per 36 minutes during the 2012 playoffs, by far a career high.
Martin may end up being the most viable option for the C's in terms of adding to their frontcourt.
Trade for a Backup Point Guard
Rondo no longer has Dooling for support.
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I'm not sure how absolutely necessary this will be, as Jason Terry can run the point, and Dionte Christmas, should he make the roster, might be an option to play there as well. Regardless, it is worth keeping an eye on, as the Celtics may want to have a true point guard behind Rondo.
The good news is that you can find backup point guards virtually anywhere at the trade deadline. Some potential names that might be available are A.J. Price of the Wizards, Beno Udrih of the Bucks, Toney Douglas of the Rockets, Jamaal Tinsley or Earl Watson of the Utah Jazz, Nolan Smith or Ronnie Price of the Portland Trail Blazers, Sebastian Telfair of the Phoenix Suns, Aaron Brooks of the Sacramento Kings and perhaps, Luke Ridnour of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Now that is all speculation on my part, but I think those are the types of floor generals that Boston will have to choose from. Clearly, Ridnour would be the best player of that bunch, and my logic for him being available is that Ricky Rubio will be returning from his torn ACL and that the Timberwolves also have J.J. Barea.
Fortunately, a backup point guard will cost essentially nothing, so it is an option that the C's can realistically explore.
Pipe Dream: Trade for Josh Smith
It's like I said in the title: This is a pipe dream, but it is a pipe dream that the Celtics have looked into in the past.
Around draft time, there were rumors that Boston was talking to the Atlanta Hawks about Josh Smith. Nothing came of it, but it is worth noting. I also feel it is worth noting that Smith has expressed his fondness for Beantown in the past, so that could play a factor.
Of course, J-Smoove would not come cheap. The C's would likely have to part with Jared Sullinger and more to pry him away from the Hawks.
The question is, would it be worth it?
Smith is only 26, and he is obviously a better player than Sullinger right now. A starting lineup consisting of the likes of Garnett, Smith, Paul Pierce and Rondo looks awfully good, too.
I should also mention that Smith is a free agent at the end of the year, so maybe Atlanta GM Danny Ferry will not ask for a king's ransom?
Taking all of these things into consideration, the chances of this happening are slim-to-none. It would be very costly, as Smith would certainly command a lucrative contract. Plus, I'm sure the Celtics wouldn't make a deal for Smith unless they were able to work out an extension with him, as well.
Hey, it's fun to dream though, right?