Boston Celtics No. 1 Trade Deadline Target: Guard Eric Bledsoe

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Boston Celtics No. 1 Trade Deadline Target: Guard Eric Bledsoe
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In the past five games, Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe has averaged 12 points, six assists and five rebounds in the absence of Chris Paul.

With the NBA trade deadline inching closer and closer everyday, the Boston Celtics are running out of time to make a deal that would propel them back to contender status in the Eastern Conference. 

With Rajon Rondo out with a torn ACL for the rest of the season, the Celtics need a point guard desperately and the obvious move would be to trade for Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe.

The Sporting News reported that the Clippers are interested in going after Celtics forward Kevin Garnett to bolster their frontcourt. As serious title contenders, acquiring Garnett would give them a greater chance to reach the NBA Finals in the West.

According to The Sporting News report:

Multiple sources tell Sporting News the Los Angeles Clippers are making a push to acquire center Kevin Garnett from the Boston Celtics. Team officials have been talking ahead of Sunday's game in Boston.

The crux of an offer for Garnett, according to sources, would be based around second-year guard Eric Bledsoe and veteran wing Caron Butler.

Bledsoe would give the the Celtics a dynamic scorer, passer and rebounder who's proven he can run the Clippers offense in the absence of Chris Paul. Against the Celtics on Sunday, Bledsoe scored 23 points, while registering 10 assists and seven rebounds. 

Butler would even out the salary of Garnett, while also adding some scoring from the bench. 

Obviously the loss of Garnett would be devastating to the Celtics from both a leadership and defensive standpoint, but not if the Celtics are able to find another big to replace him in a trade as well. One of the players who's been rumored in trades to Boston recently is the Atlanta Hawks' Josh Smith

According to a story from ESPN Insider Kevin Pelton:

Jeff Green and Courtney Lee to Atlanta; Smith to Boston.

Celtics fans would love to add Smith to their lineup, but it's difficult to see the Hawks front office being equally excited unles Paul Pierce or Rajon Rondo is involved. Boston doesn't have a true expiring contract on the roster (Pierce's partially guaranteed deal comes closest), and Atlanta likely isn't interested in Green's exorbitant deal.

The Hawks don't seem to be too interested in giving Smith the type of money he's expecting in the offseason. At this point they'd be willing to take the best offer they're given for smith before the trade deadline. Smith is averaging 17 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two blocks a game this season for the Hawks and is known as one of the premier post defenders in the league. He'd be a guy that could definitely replace the defensive presence of Garnett in the post, while adding scoring and rebounding as well. 

At age 36, Garnett doesn't have too many years left in his playing career and the best thing the Celtics can do as a team now is to get younger. Sending Garnett to the Clippers will put him on a contender for the rest of his career, while the team still gets to keep Pierce who's been the heart and soul of the Celtics for the past decade. 

These moves would put the Celtics back into contention in the East. Outside of the Miami Heat, New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets there's no team that has shown enough consistency in the win column.

 Coach Doc Rivers takes pride in his teams defense, it may be time to breathe some new life into it before it's too late.

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