Could Boston provide Oden the second chance he craves?
Following a third straight loss, Boston Celtics supporters have given extra life to countless trade rumors. Many of them are even calling for a significant change to the roster.
If his postgame comments on Sunday are any indication, head coach Doc Rivers seems to strongly agree with the Celtics faithful.
I gotta either find the right combination or the right guys, or we’re going to get some guys out of here. That’s the bottom line. This group right now, they’re not playing right. It’s in them to play right. But right now they haven’t been either because I’m not getting to them, or they’re not getting to each other.
His remarks come not even a week after GM Danny Ainge stated that he was “happy” with the current Boston roster and that there was “no need to bring in someone right now.”
What a difference a week can make.
Now six games back of the New York Knicks in the Atlantic Division, the Celtics are in dire need of some sort of spark.
Common sense says that the team will require much more than a simple alteration in the starting lineup or change in strategy to turn this slump around.
Been there, done that.
With every passing loss, a trade is looking more and more like the route that Boston will take.
Here are some of the names circling around the rumor mill right now.
If Courtney Lee was not enough, the Celtics are looking to add another Orlando Magic-pedigreed shooting guard to their roster.
As Feb. 21 #NBA trade deadline looms, sources tell me the Boston Celtics covet Orlando Magic SG J.J. Redick.
— David Baumann (@DavidBaumann33) January 19, 2013
Many fans will remember Redick as the struggling, former-Duke standout who averaged just 6.3 points per game, while shooting 31.7 percent from the field during Boston’s seven-game Conference Semifinals series against the Magic back in 2009.
However, much has changed since then.
Through 39 games this season, Redick is averaging 14.6 points and 4.5 assists per game, while shooting 45 percent from the field—all serve as career highs. He’s also knocking down 38.4 percent of his attempts from three-point range.
In his seventh season in the league, the 28-year-old has finally started to put it together. Redick has been a tremendous spark plug for Orlando coming off the bench.
The same cannot be said about Jason Terry this year.
After signing for the full mid-level exception in the offseason, Terry was expected to provide the Celtics with the same boost of energy he’s provided over his 13-year NBA career.
Thus far, he’s been anything but.
In 40 games, Terry is averaging just 10.1 points per game, while shooting 42.7 percent from the floor—the worst marks of his career since his rookie season.
He’s been even worse in his past five games—5.6 points per game on 40 percent shooting.
Basically at the midpoint of the season, it’s fair to say that Ainge made a mistake with Terry.
However, Redick can offer Ainge retribution.
One possibility is that Boston could give up Lee and Leandro Barbosa in exchange for Redick.
Lee has shown an increase in offensive productivity over the last few games. He would also provide the Magic with a solid defender off the bench as well.
Barbosa, on the other hand, has had some impressive flashes over the limited minutes he’s gotten this season. Orlando would benefit from his veteran experience and could also thrive from his driving ability and long-range shooting.
The Celtics could attempt to give up Terry in exchange, but his contract would require the addition of a third team to make a deal work.
But right now might be the perfect time for the two parties to join forces.
It’s no secret that the Hawks are drooling over the possibility of making a charge for Dwight Howard and Chris Paul during this summer’s free agency. The only thing keeping the team from having a sizable amount of space by then is whether or not they will re-sign Smith.
Based on recent comments made by his agent, Wallace Prather, Smith looks set to be walking come free agency.
Which makes trading Smith the most viable option for Atlanta.
As for the Celtics, they are on a disastrous slide that could take them out of playoff contention. Smith could be just what the team needs.
Smith is definitely worthy of all the attention.
Through 37 games, Smith is averaging 16.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.2 blocks per game.
He possesses pure all-around talent that is hard to find in the league these days.
Smith would go a long way in curing some of the interior woes that have been hindering Boston lately.
I touched upon some possible trade scenarios involving Smith last week.
It might be a long shot, but crazier things have happened in the NBA.
While this move does not classify as a trade, it could certainly have just as big of an impact on the Celtics.
Oden, who last played in the NBA back in 2009, is eager to make a NBA comeback. Boston is just one of several teams reportedly courting the former No. 1 overall pick.
Originally drafted in 2007 by the Portland Trail Blazers, Oden has missed the majority of three of his four seasons in the league due to injury. He has undergone a total of three microfracture knee surgeries.
Oden only appeared in 82 career games before being waived by the Trail Blazers last May.
Although limited, Oden showed potential in his time on the court.
He averaged 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game in just 22.1 minutes a night. He also shot an impressive 57.7 percent from the floor.
At 24, Oden certainly looks like he has a lot more left to offer.
In an interview with WEEI, Ainge confirmed the Celtics’ interest:
Yeah, so we’re monitoring [Oden], like all the NBA teams are, but we have not attempted to sign him. But we are monitoring him and having conversations with his people just to see where he’s at. I don’t think he’d be ready to play this year. But I would suspect that anybody that would sign him would have their eyes looking more towards his contribution in the future than now.
Sure, his injury history would make signing him a gamble. But adding Oden would be both a low-cost and low-risk move.
What would Boston have to lose?
Summing It All Up
This is just the beginning.
As the days go by, don’t be surprised to hear more and more names pop up as rumored trade targets for the Celtics.
The team needs help and soon. Don’t expect Ainge to stand pat as his ship slowly begins to sink. Pay no attention to his former comments.
The Celtics have all the potential to make a run this season. But they need a little push to get them there.
So who will it be?
All stats used in this article are accurate as of Jan. 21, 2013.
Also check out: Should the Celtics Pursue a Deadline-Deal for Josh Smith?