NBA Trade Ideas: 10 Potential Deals That Keep the Boston Celtics Contending

Collin BerglundCorrespondent IIIMarch 24, 2011

NBA Trade Ideas: 10 Potential Deals That Keep the Boston Celtics Contending

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    The 2010-2011 Boston Celtics are one of the best teams in the NBA this season and are primed for a playoff run.

    But ever since the "Big Three" came into existence, age has been the word on the tongue of NBA pundits, as in: "The Boston Celtics are ageing and won't be able to compete next season." 

    Each season, the Celtics have proven the doubters wrong.  But the truth is Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and both O'Neals are not the players they once were.  One day their age will prevent them from leading an NBA team to the playoffs, and Celtics GM Danny Ainge does not want to sit around and wait for that to happen.

    Ainge was part of the Celtics first "Big Three," with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish and watched the team falter as it aged.  He has been quoted as saying he doesn't want that to happen to this edition of the Celtics. 

    With his deadline deal earlier this season, Ainge showed he was unafraid to make big moves, even when his team is doing well.

    Expect Ainge to have an active offseason aimed toward finding pieces to surround stalwart point guard Rajon Rondo with to ensure the Celtics' success is sustainable for the next decade.

    It won't be easy, because the C's have big contracts on the books for a few more years, but Ainge is nothing if not creative, so don't be surprised if he finds a way to make some of these deals happen.

Replace Doc Rivers with Rick Carlisle

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    At the end of last season, Rivers considered leaving coaching to watch his son Austin play basketball.  The Celtics front office, in addition to a number of players, convinced the coach to come back for one more run.

    Austin Rivers was one of the top recruits in the nation and is now Duke-bound.  Doc will have another major decision at the end of this season and will likely not be the coach of the Celtics next season.

    Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle would be one possibility to replace Rivers.  Ainge and Carlisle were teammates on the 1985-86 Celtics championship team.  Since then, Carlisle has become one of the few reliable NBA coaches, with over 700 wins in his nine-year career, missing the playoffs only once.

    Carlisle might jump at the chance to coach for the team that drafted him. 

Re-Sign Glen "Big Baby" Davis

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    Davis is not only a fan favorite for the Celtics, but he has become one of the best bench players in the league. 

    With a variety of low-post moves (most of them ugly, but effective), Davis has found ways to score against much taller players.  He is also a force on the offensive and defensive boards.  With injuries to Kevin Garnett during the past few seasons, Davis has shown he has the ability to start.  He is not a star, but he is a player who has helped the Celtics win games.

    The current status of the NBA collective bargaining agreement between players and ownership leaves many questions regarding future contracts, but Davis has become indispensable both on the court and off for these Celtics.

Unload Unwieldy Contracts

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    In order to get creative with player acquisitions, the Celtics will have to improve their cap flexibility.  Right now, most of the team's money is wrapped up in Garnett, Pierce, Allen and Rondo.  

    In order to make moves this off-season to stave off future losses, Ainge might have to cut ties with a beloved veteran -- like Ray Allen.

    Allen is a fan favorite, but he is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year.  Don't be surprised if he doesn't come back next season and Ainge finds a younger player with more upside to take his place.

Sign David West

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    Nenad Krstic has done well since entering the lineup as Kendrick Perkins replacement at center, but he will be a free agent at season's end.  Few good centers will be available as free agents (Tony Battie, anyone?), unless anyone really thinks Tim Duncan will leave San Antonio.

    The Celtics could put together a creative and formidable dream front line with two power forwards -- Kevin Garnett and West.  Both have the ability to rebound and are potent scorers.  

    If the Celtics could put together enough cash to make an offer, West, 30, could extend the Celtics run of dominance at least a couple of years.

    Regardless, the Celtics need a big man next season and if not West or Krstic, they might have to look for a trade.

Bring in "Glue Guys"

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    Championships are won and lost with the players surrounding the stars.  Every team needs players to known their roles.  Whether its a star shooter, lock-down defender or change-of-pace guard, every good team needs a bench full of guys with specific skills.

    Jason Kapono of the Philadelphia 76ers will be a free agent at the end of the season.  While he won't lead the Celtics through the playoffs, he will make big shots off the bench and he could be the difference in a few close games.

Trade for a Marquee Player

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    Rajon Rondo is a great point guard, but the Celtics nee another big name to lead them into the post-Big Three era.  The Celtics don't have many commodities to trade, but a combination of draft picks and large contracts might be enough to land a player like Rudy Gay.

    Gay's name has been connected to the Celtics in the past.  Young players with proven star power are tough to find in the NBA, but in order to contend in years to come, the Celtics need a star to pair with Rondo.

Draft a Big Man

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    The Celtics will likely have a late first round pick in this year's draft.  Rondo gives the Celtics a basis at guard for the next few years, but they still need a big rebounder.

    A player like Donatas Motiejunas out of Lithuania might be a project, but if a seven-footer with skills is available when the Celtics are on the clock, expect them to jump at the opportunity.

Institute Innovative Offseason Training Program

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    If the Celtics don't win the East this season, it will be because they did not stay healthy enough to do so.  Both O'Neal's have missed significant time to injury as have other Boston stalwarts.

    Ed Lacerte, the head trainer of the Celtics, should create an off-season regiment geared primarily toward keeping players.  Lacerte has done an outstanding job of nursing players through a season to get them at their strongest by year's end (see the 2010 season).

    The talent is there for the Celtics, but as the team ages, it will take more innovative approaches to keep the Celtics going strong into the season's later months.

Re-Sign Jeff Green

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    Jeff Green does not have a contract for next season either.  In order to justify trading away Kendrick Perkins (who the Celtics did not believe they would be able to re-sign), they have to be able to get Green back. 

    Although Green does not rebound well for someone of his size, he can be a dynamic player.  He will have an opportunity to prove himself for the rest of the season, and the Celtics need all the youth they can get.

    The Celtics will have to work hard to keep Green in green this offseason.

Keep Rondo and Pierce Happy

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    If Pierce is Boston's past and Rondo, its future, then the Celtics need to make sure both stars are happy heading into next season.

    The Celtics already have one of the best teams in basketball returning, and any moves for improvement will be made with an eye toward a few years down the road.  

    Pierce and Rondo are truly Celtics.  While Garnett might be the team's emotional leader, he will take cues from guys who 50 years from now will still be remembered as Celtics.