Despite the immense amount of adversity the Boston Celtics have had to fight through this season, Doc Rivers' squad still finds itself in the playoff mix in the Eastern Conference as the midseason trade deadline approaches.
If the season ended today, the C's would be the seventh seed in the East, but it doesn't. Boston has 28 games left until the postseason begins. That's why many believe the Celtics will make a move before Thursday afternoon's trade deadline.
With time running out for Boston and the 29 other NBA teams to make their last major roster changes, let's take a look at the latest trade chatter surrounding the C's.
Boston Willing to Ship Out Rajon Rondo?
The Celtics have done well since losing talented point guard Rajon Rondo for the entire season to a torn ACL, but perhaps management is reading too much into the success they've achieved over the past month.
According to ESPN's Chris Broussard, Boston has made Rondo available as Thursday afternoon's trade deadline approaches:
Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo, who had season-ending knee surgery a week ago, is available for a trade by Thursday's deadline, league sources tell ESPN's Chris Broussard.
However, a trade is unlikely because of Rondo's injury, a torn left ACL, sources tell Broussard.
Celtics general manager Danny Ainge added the following in lead-up to Thursday's deadline (via ESPN.com):
It looks unlikely that anything will be done, other than possibly some players we will add to our roster. Not sure yet of what that will be.
Obviously, Rondo isn't going to help Boston the rest of the way, but trading the 26-year-old floor general, who happens to also be the Celtics' best player, makes little sense at this point in time. That's why even flirting with the idea of trading Rondo this February is foolish.
There's no doubt that Boston has needs, but sacrificing the face of the franchise in order to chase a title in 2013 would be about as short-sighted as it gets.
Is Fab Melo Available?
Rookie center Fab Melo has played in just three games for the Celtics this season, scoring a total of two points in those three appearances.
According to Yahoo! Sports' NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter), the C's have made Melo available to other NBA teams looking to deal:
Losing Melo wouldn't at all impact Boston, though, as the seven-footer has been showcasing his skills in the NBA Developmental League for the most part this year. If the Celtics can package Melo along with another player in order to acquire some backcourt help before the deadline like Wojnarowski discusses, they would be smart to do so.
Teams Pursuing Paul Pierce?
Boston loves Paul Pierce, and vice versa. But that doesn't mean the Celtics aren't listening to any and all offers at this point in the season with the deadline drawing near. According to Wojnarowski on Wednesday, the Nets have inquired about potentially piecing together a deal for Celtics star Paul Pierce:
The Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets have discussed a trade for Celtics star Paul Pierce, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
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 35-year-old small forward is the team's leading scorer this season, averaging over 18 points per game for the C's. If Boston does find the right deal for the veteran forward, then it must make sure that it acquires a scorer or two in return. Otherwise, the Celtics are headed straight for the lottery.
Boston can't afford to lose Pierce's offensive production at this point in the season having already lost Rondo for the year.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.