If the Boston Celtics want to contend for another championship, they must make a move before the trade deadline.
Despite the fact that the squad has turned things around after a 14-17 start and is playing its best ball of the year, it's a long way away from contending. The Celtics still struggle to score consistently and they are one of the worst rebounding teams in the NBA.
Still, general manager Danny Ainge believes that the roster is perfectly fine as is. According to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, Ainge said:
I feel like we don’t have any glaring needs when we’re playing the way we’re playing. Everyone’s playing their role; whether they’re playing well all the time is not as much of a point if they are accepting a role and giving an honest day’s worth of work.
In an interview with CSN New England's Greg Dickerson, he explained that it is unlikely there will be any trades:
That doesn't make a lot of sense to radically change the team when you're trying to compete to win it all. We have been and will continue to look to upgrade our team, but I think it's always more unlikely that that happens than likely.
Unfortunately, this reasoning does not make a lot of sense.
Even with the vast playoff experience that Boston provides, it will be extremely difficult for this squad to compete with the Miami Heat in a seven-game series. Even the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets look like much stronger teams at this point in the year.
The team is good enough that it does not need to make a huge blockbuster move or blow up the team and rebuild. However, there are certainly areas of the team that can be fixed with a smaller move or two.
With the second-fewest rebounds per game in the NBA, improving the frontcourt should be the first task.
Fortunately, there are a number of players available that can fix this problem.
Anderson Varejao of the Cleveland Cavaliers is now no longer a likely option due to an injury, but there are other talented big men on the block.
One interesting name is Timofey Mozgov of the Denver Nuggets. The seven-foot center has been unable to see the floor with his current team, but is solid on the glass and is usually near the top of the league in rebounds per 48 minutes.
The good news is that even he thinks he will be traded. According to Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports, he told the media after a recent game, "I think it’s logical, you can see that, trading me. I’m in my contract year. So if they can get something for me… I don’t think it would be a surprise for me (to be traded)."
Another player that should be traded is Derrick Williams. The Minnesota Timberwolves forward has struggled since being taken with the No. 2 overall pick and, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, "both sides would be happy with a move."
Neither of these potential targets would cost the Celtics more than they should be willing to give up. However, they could both go a long way toward improving the roster as Boston prepares for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs.
The moves are there to be made. Ainge simply needs to stay aggressive instead of being tricked into believing this team can win a title.
Otherwise, Boston will be ending its season much earlier than it hoped.