The 3 Most Logical Trade Targets for the Boston Celtics

Jacob Keimach@JKeimach9Correspondent IIFebruary 6, 2013

Imagine these two wearing the same uniform.
Imagine these two wearing the same uniform.Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

If the Boston Celtics make a trade before the Feb. 21 deadline, it will most likely be with the Los Angeles Clippers, Orlando Magic or Sacramento Kings.  

That being said, I personally think GM Danny Ainge, coach Doc Rivers and the players that have legitimate voices are all stubbornly confident in the postseason potential of the current personnel.

Even though the Celtics are only 24-23, I tend to agree with the management's sentiment. The fact of the matter remains that despite season-ending injuries to both Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger, the C's play in a weak conference, have an abundance of veteran leadership and are still one of the most gritty teams in the NBA

Additionally, in the four games since the bad news broke about Rondo, Boston has regained its defensive identity and the players have completely rallied around each other. Making a trade at this point would most likely involve undermining the very spirit that the Celtics have been searching for all year—and finally seem to have found. 

Winning the NBA Finals is admittedly a very lofty goal—I'd go so far as to call it unattainable—but the C's still possess the firepower to make a deep run in the Eastern Conference playoffs. 

Nonetheless, there are plenty of voices, analysts and fans alike, calling for Ainge to blow up the squad, maximize the return on moving the Celtics' remnants of the Big Three era, or at least do something to bolster the roster before the deadline. 

Let's explore a few potential options on Boston's horizon.


Orlando Magic

Rumors about a deal involving Orlando's J.J. Redick have quelled a bit since their height during the last week of January. This is for a few reasons.

First of all, adding a younger and more defensively active guard was a more attractive option when Rajon Rondo was still in the picture. Increasing floor spacing with a shooter like Redick would have better accomplished what the offseason addition of Jason Terry was meant to achieve, while simultaneously stiffening the C's D. 

Redick guards well against the pick-and-roll, while also being capable of sticking with quick guards off the dribble. 

Furthermore, the trade would most likely involve Boston parting ways with Jeff Green. Again, since Rondo's final game of the year in Atlanta, Green has been one of the Celtics who has majorly stepped up and filled the void. He's athletic, can fly to the rim, improving on defense and has already firmly bought into Boston's mentality. 

Thirdly and most importantly, adding Redick does not address the Celtics' main area of concern: adding a big man to protect the rim and haul in rebounds. This has been a consistently disappointing facet of the Celtics' season and now should be the main focus following the loss of Jared Sullinger.

Add to the mix that the Celtics are a tight-knit group with overconfident management, and a deal with Orlando seems less and less likely. Still, a trade with Orlando remains one of the best options that Boston could pursue with its limited pieces. 


Sacramento Kings

Personally, I still like the idea of the Celtics bringing in DeMarcus Cousins to stand in the paint. He is a proven rebounder with a bad attitude that could be channeled properly by a fiercely competitive spirit like Kevin Garnett. If nothing else, we know the dude is at least intimidating. 

What we also know is that Boston does not have the trade assets necessary to acquire a big talent like Cousins. Both Garnett and Paul Pierce are only really marketable to championship contenders at this point in their careers, and the Kings are certainly not that. 

With Rondo being the centerpiece of the future—at least the immediate future—the attractive and available trade pieces from Boston's end continue to dwindle. 

Still, the Celtics could use another bad boy to be a presence in the painted area. They most likely won't be able to pull it off, but a deal with Sacramento at least makes sense from the Celtics' perspective. 


Los Angeles Clippers

Not too long ago, news broke via that the Celtics were in discussions with the Clips about a possible trade involving Garnett for players like Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler. 

A few things about this opportunity strike me and have me convinced it could help both sides. 

For one, KG most likely will not waive his no-trade clause under any circumstances. However, if the correct scenario exists, surely this type of deal would be most attractive to the Celtics' aging center. A chance to play in L.A., make a legitimate championship run and join the ranks of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are all positives that would ease Garnett's pain upon leaving Boston. 

The Clippers have a chance to win it all this season, but still seem like they're one step behind Oklahoma City and Miami. Adding a defensive beast like KG would do wonders for their title dreams. 

On Danny Ainge's side, it is a very difficult decision to trade away someone who has consistently been a loyal warrior for the franchise. KG has poured every ounce of his heart and soul into the C's since joining the team in 2007 and continues to be a major voice on the floor and in the locker room. GMs simply do not find that combination of leadership, skill and tenacity very often. 

However, the possibility of landing a younger talent like Eric Bledsoe has to be an attractive option, even if Ainge's heart is in Garnett's corner. As fans, we often hear GMs justify their decisions by reminding us that the NBA is a business and sometimes personal ties have to be set aside. 

Now that Rondo is down and out, Eric Bledsoe would be a terrific addition to the Celtics' backcourt. If the goal remains to contend for a title this season and still be in the hunt over the next five, swapping age for talent seems a wise move. 

Do I think the Clippers will part with Bledsoe at this juncture? Probably not, especially considering Chris Paul is still hampered by his bum knee. But for Boston, this seems a logical destination for a big deal if any exist.