February 21, the deadline, is the target date for Boston to get something accomplished on the trade front. There are some rumblings swirling, but nothing has gained any steam as Boston continues to play good but inconsistent basketball.
Star point guard Rajon Rondo recently went down with a season-ending ACL injury, but the C's have responded by winning four straight games in his absence. Rondo wasn’t the only player to go down for Doc Rivers’ team recently. Rookie big man Jared Sullinger went down a few days later after having back surgery to repair persistent back spasms.
Will this be the year that Celtics GM Danny Ainge dismantles the core of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce? That duo has done so much for the Celtics franchise that it’s hard to fathom seeing them depart in free agency. That’s especially true because, despite the injuries and loss of Rondo and Sullinger, the team is still winning and looks competitive.
Ainge has some tough decisions to make before Feb. 21. If the team holds onto a playoff seed until then, will he opt to keep his squad intact and hope a late-season resurgence will carry the team to postseason success?
Or is this a team that is destined to be outclassed in the playoffs? Would breaking them up now and getting some key rebuilding pieces in place be the best option?
The Celtics' need for some help at point guard will put them right in the center of plenty of rumors and speculation until the deadline passes. Let's take a look at some of the latest rumors that are out there, as well as their plausibility.
The Boston Celtics have reportedly acquired 24-year-old Washington Wizards shooting guard Jordan Crawford in a trade Thursday.
UPDATE: Thursday, Feb. 21, 2:20 p.m. ET by Donald Wood
According to Yahoo! Sports NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the Boston Celtics have sent veteran Leandro Barbosa and his expiring contract to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Jordan Crawford:
Celtics will send the Leandro Barbosa expiring contract to the Wizards for Jordan Crawford, league source tells Y! Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 21, 2013
---End of update---
According to NBA insider David Aldridge, the deal reportedly will not involve prized center prospect Fab Melo going to Washington as previously reported, though:
Source: Wizards guard Jordan Crawford will be traded to the Celtics.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) February 21, 2013
Wizards/Celts deal sending Jordan Crawford to Boston will not be for C Fab Melo, per source. Teams still working.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) February 21, 2013
If the Celtics were able to add the talent and youth of Crawford without giving up a player with as much upside as center Fab Melo, it will be heralded as a good deal.
Keep it here as more news breaks concerning this deal.
UPDATE: Thursday, Feb. 21 at 1:25 p.m. ET by Matt Fitzgerald
It seems that the Celtics are indeed shopping the No. 22 overall pick from this year's draft in a prospective swap for Washington Wizards guard Jordan Crawford. Yahoo! NBA writer Adrian Wojnarowski has the latest:
Celtics, Wizards discussing Fab Melo for Jordan Crawford, league sources tell Y! Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 21, 2013
Crawford is a volume shooter who is averaging 13.2 points per game this season, and could help the Celtics out on the wing. Meanwhile, Melo has struggled to log any playing time at all in Boston.
---End of Update---
With the Boston Celtics scrambling to keep guards healthy and productive on the roster, they are going to have to start trying some things in order to add help before Thursday's trade deadline.
One of the options the Celtics are reportedly exploring is putting rookie center Fab Melo out there for the rest of the league to make an offer on.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the need for guard help is pushing the Celtics to put Melo on the market.
In pursuit of guard help, the Celtics have made rookie center Fab Melo available in trade offers, league sources tell Y! Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 20, 2013
Given his very low track record of success this season, Melo isn't likely to net much in return. He has played in just three games, averaging less than three minutes on the floor, scoring less than one point per game with zero rebounds.
Melo entered the NBA as a defensive-oriented center, so there isn't tremendous upside in his favor. He is just 22 years old and could thrive with a team that actually, you know, gives him an opportunity to play.
But because the Celtics haven't given Melo that stage so far, they have severely limited the quality of player they could receive in return. Desperate times do call for desperate measures, so you can't blame the Celtics for doing what is necessary.
UPDATE: Thursday Feb. 21 at 11:45 a.m. ET by Matt Fitzgerald
Latest word out of Boston: Celtics making deadline-day run at player they've pursued before ... Tyreke Evans— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 21, 2013
Boston has been interested in Evans before, and as Chad Ford of ESPN points out, GM Danny Ainge loved Evans before the draft. Evans has had a rough tenure with the Kings, and could use a fresh start with a more stable franchise.
---End of Update---
UPDATE: Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 7:54 p.m. ET by Dan Talintyre
Contrary to what earlier reports suggested, Boston do not appear to be invested in a deal with Brooklyn regarding Paul Pierce, according to Alex Raskin at Hoopsworld.com.
By now many NBA fans are mulling over Adrian Wojnarowski’s report on Yahoo! Sports that the Boston Celtics are entertaining a deal that would send Paul Pierce to the Brookyn Nets in exchange for Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and a first-round pick. The Celtics are reportedly also interested in Mirza Teletovic and another first-round pick, which would be a steep price for the Nets to pay.
However, a person with knowledge of the Nets’ thinking told HOOPSWORLD, “I wouldn’t read much into it.” That should come as some relief to the throngs of Celtics fans who nearly stormed Danny Ainge’s office upon hearing the report. Most NBA fans don’t hold Humphries or Brooks in high regard, but the trade did make sense on one level:
The Celtics have more money invested in Jeff Green than Paul Pierce at this point, and Green doesn’t get the opportunities on offense because Pierce is still around. For the Celtics to move forward (they’re not winning a title this year) they’ll need to give Green a chance to be a real factor on offense, not just defense. Furthermore, if the Celtics hope to trade Kevin Garnett, who has a no-trade clause, they’ll need to move Pierce first. Garnett has too much loyalty to Pierce to leave his friend behind.
---End of update---
UPDATE: Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 5:30 p.m. ET by Ben Chodos
While Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski originally reported that Paul Pierce could be headed to Atlanta, his latest rumor suggests the small forward may not be heading quite that far south. Wojnarowski reported the following on a potential trade involving the Boston Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets:
The Nets' offer centered on forward Kris Humphries, guard MarShon Brooks and a first-round draft pick, but the Celtics want a more substantial package to consider moving Pierce, league sources said.
"The Celtics still highly value Pierce and it wouldn't make sense to trade him for that kind of a package if they're keeping Kevin Garnett," one league source said.
---End of update---
UPDATE: Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 10:46 p.m. ET by Dan Talintyre
If the Celtics trade Garnett before the deadline, they would move Pierce, too, sources said. For the Celtics, the chance to get Bledsoe and Jordan could be a prelude to trying to package Pierce in a possible deal to the Atlanta Hawks for Josh Smith, sources said. The Hawks also have discussed sending Pierce onto a third team in some previous conversations around the league.
--End of update---
UPDATE: Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 7:53 p.m. ET by Dan Talintyre
USA Today Sports' Sam Amick (h/t Hoopsworld.com) reports that Boston will not look for a deal that includes Rajon Rondo in 2013.
USA Today Sports’ Sam Amick is reporting that Bill Duffy the agent for Celtics guard Rajon Rondo was assured that Rondo would not be traded at the trade deadline.
The Celtics trade chatter has calmed down considerably since word of a Kevin Garnett deal broke several weeks ago. Sources close to the process say if the Celtics do something its likely going to involve Brandon Bass and or Courtney Lee with rookie Fab Melo being dangled as a sweetener to get a deal done.
The Celtics are said to be looking for a solid veteran point guard in return.
---End of update---
UPDATE: Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 10:40 p.m. ET by Dan Talintyre
The Celtics have been eager to continue the conversation on the deal, but league sources said the talks will remain dormant unless Clippers star Chris Paul pushes the issue with management.
Several prominent executives and coaches with championship contenders told Yahoo! Sports they believe the Clippers would become more dangerous with Garnett. Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro is a proponent of the deal, too, sources said.
He also went on to state that Garnett won't be moved unless it's for this specific deal with the Clippers, and that they could most likely get him to agree to waive his no-tradee contract clause.
---End of update---
Kevin Garnett has been a staple for the Boston Celtics since being dealt from the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2007. All of that could be coming to an end, though, as the Celtics begin to look towards the future.
Will that end come before the 2013 NBA trade deadline on Feb. 21?
Sporting News' Sean Deveney thinks it might. He said on Sunday, Feb. 3, that multiple sources reported that the Los Angeles Clippers were ramping up efforts to obtain Garnett from the C's before the trade deadline.
What would it take for the Clippers to convince the C's to part with Garnett, though? Deveney weighed in on that, too:
The crux of an offer for Garnett, according to sources, would be based around second-year guard Eric Bledsoe and veteran wing Caron Butler.
Dealing Garnett would be throwing in the towel on this team and we're not sure that's something Danny Ainge is willing to do just yet. More than likely he will weigh his options and see how things play out until the deadline and make a decision then.
Despite all of the possibilities for this trade, Garnett holds the key to any deal being done. According to SportsOnEarth.com writer Shaun Powell, Garnett will not waive his no-trade clause unless Paul Pierce is traded and the deal is to Los Angeles (via Twitter):
Told Kevin Garnett will not waive no trade unless Pierce is dealt, and then only to LA. Lives in Malibu.— Shaun Powell (@Powell2daPeople) February 4, 2013
Without the trade of Pierce, this deal is dead in its tracks as Garnett will allegedly block it from going through.
UPDATE: Monday, Feb. 18, at 10:22 p.m. ET, by Dan Talintyre
Boston's active on several fronts, including discussions on Josh Smith. Brooklyn is solely focused on making a Smith deal.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 19, 2013
That news came after ESPN's Marc Stein had reported that Atlanta will definitely look to move Smith before the Feb. 21 close date.
Hawks have convinced numerous teams that Josh Smith will be moved between now and Thursday 3 PM deadline. Question remains where exactly
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 19, 2013
---End of update---
Jason Terry has been a steady bench presence for years with the Dallas Mavericks, but his time with the Boston Celtics has been less than desirable so far during the 2012-13 season.
His minutes, field goal makes and attempts, assists and points are all near career lows, and with the Celtics facing a luxury tax issue before the trade deadline, there's a good possibility Terry could be used as a salary dump or smaller piece in a bigger trade.
CBS Sports' Ken Berger first reported the news on Twitter:
With injuries mounting, teams have begun inquiring whether Boston is willing to trade Jason Terry to get under luxury tax, sources say.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) February 1, 2013
The Celtics are $1.5 million over the tax threshold, and Terry is still an attractive bench shooter for teams looking to make a move before the February deadline passes. As noted by Berger, the C's remain in "wait-and-see" mode with potential trades.
Thus far, the Celtics remain in wait-and-see mode and have not indicated a strong appetite to deal.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) February 1, 2013
However, if they can find a suitor for Terry that gives cap flexibility while bringing back a young player or draft pick, it's clear that that kind of move would appease general manager Danny Ainge's needs. As a part of a bigger deal, though, it's unlikely that $20 million-plus (when you add either Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett) would be attractive to too many teams in the NBA.
Though he's struggled for much of his first season in Boston, Courtney Lee is one of many Celtics players who have stepped up their game with Rajon Rondo out of the lineup. He's averaging 12.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists in the month of February, while continuing to be one of the NBA's most underrated perimeter defenders.
Nevertheless, Boston's search for frontcourt help means just about every guard on the roster can be had for a price. And according to CSN Bay Area's Rich Bucher, the Celtics are willing to move Lee if they can get some help in the middle in return: "Acquiring SG Courtney Lee, who Boston would consider flipping for some frontline help, was discussed but the Celtics aren't looking just to drop salary but add size."
The appeal of Lee to other teams is pretty obvious. He's just 27 years old, can knock down a corner three, and we've already covered his defensive prowess. With an extremely manageable contract—he signed a four-year, $21.5 million contract with Boston this summer—a guard-needy team could definitely benefit from his presence.
But the Celtics aren't just going to give him away for that reason. So it remains to be seen whether any team will step up with an offer enticing enough to make Danny Ainge bite.
If Danny Ainge decides the Boston Celtics are still title contenders at the 2013 NBA trade deadline he might want to go out and acquire a veteran point guard to help lead his team into the postseason.
That's where Chauncey Billups comes in.
While Billups could be a trade chip in a potential deal for Celtics big man Kevin Garnett, the C's could make a separate play altogether for the veteran PG.
Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald reported on Feb. 4 that Billups was seen dining with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, their wives, and C's head coach Doc Rivers on Feb. 2.
Murphy wondered, with good reason, why the meeting between Billups and the envoy of Celtics players went down. It certainly makes sense that, given the need at point guard, the team would start exploratory discussions around the league with familiar faces to gauge interest.
Billups was drafted in the first round by Boston back in the 1997 NBA draft.
When asked about finding replacements for Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger, Rivers deferred to Ainge, who he said was "doing all of the work now," according to Murphy.
The Boston Celtics are hurting in the three-ball department after losing Ray Allen to Miami in free agency this past offseason. Struggle is putting it mildly, as they have fallen to 27th in the league by shooting just 33 percent from beyond the arc.
With J.J. Redick seemingly available to the highest bidder, it was only natural that the Celtics get involved in the proceedings.
ESPN's Marc Stein said Boston GM Danny Ainge may be looking to add a quick fix to solve the C's shooting woes (via Twitter):
Hearing Celts, even before season-worst 7-for-32 shooting from 15+ feet in NYK loss, have ramped up their interest in Magic's J.J. Redick— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) January 25, 2013
Redick would be an instant improvement for Boston, as he has scored 14.9 points per game and shot 40 percent from downtown this season off of the Orlando Magic's bench.
The best part about a potential deal for Redick is that he has a $6.2 million expiring contract. If Ainge wants to rebuild and retool in the offseason he won't be strapped for money and can resign Redick at a discounted price or simply let him walk.