Ranking Boston Celtics Most Believable 2014 NBA Free-Agency Rumors

Michael Pina@@MichaelVPinaFeatured ColumnistJuly 2, 2014

Ranking Boston Celtics Most Believable 2014 NBA Free-Agency Rumors

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    A general manager’s duty this time of year is to make sure no stone is left unturned, and nobody knows this better than Danny Ainge. The Boston Celtics' lead decision-maker is well aware of his team's weaknesses and knows every offseason is important.

    Players who may seem out of Boston's price range still need to be investigated. But just because Ainge calls a player's agent doesn't mean it's realistic that the Celtics will sign him. He's working the market, testing value and accessing every resource imaginable to improve his team.

    Here are five reported rumors related to the Celtics so far, ranked based on the likelihood that they actually come true. 

5. Boston Has Interest in Isaiah Thomas

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    The Celtics reached out to Isaiah Thomas tonight. Interesting, the Kings and Celtics had recently been in talks on Rajon Rondo deal.

    — Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 1, 2014

    Forget about Rajon Rondo for a second, because it makes next to no sense for Boston to trade him to Sacramento if Thomas is the best player the Celtics would get in return.

    Instead, let's look at how Thomas could help Boston. He's a mirror opposite of Avery Bradley, whom the Celtics just locked up on a four-year, $32 million deal, a guard who's all offense but lacks value on the other end. 

    Boston can't put the ball in the basket, and bringing in a speedy, score-first point guard (such as Thomas) off the bench would make things a lot easier. That's all this attraction is, but the price will probably be too high, especially with Bradley's deal on the books.

    The presence of draft pick Marcus Smart, another combo guard, only makes this acquisition less likely.

4. Celtics Want to Acquire Gordon Hayward, Chandler Parsons

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    Pat Sullivan/Associated Press

    Celtics contacted approximately 30 players last night, according to source. Gordon Hayward and Chandler Parsons are on the list.

    — Mark Murphy (@Murf56) July 1, 2014

    Gordon Hayward has a connection to Brad Stevens and is a versatile playmaker on the wing, which is something the Celtics could really use. Chandler Parsons is an extremely talented weapon who would noticeably improve Boston's inefficient scoring in several ways. 

    Both players are restricted free agents, though, and the Celtics don't have enough cap space to offer them max deals, even if they thought that was enough to make the Utah Jazz and the Houston Rockets back off. 

    A sign-and-trade is technically possible, but Hayward or Parsons would first have to be willing to leave their teams. There are far too many hurdles to climb for either of these players to end up in Boston.

3. Rajon Rondo Wants Max Contract

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    Michael Perez/Associated Press

    This isn't a 2014 free-agency rumor, but it's still a major Celtics-related rumble. According to Cedric Maxwell, a television commentator and a former Celtic, Rajon Rondo plans on demanding a five-year, $100 million max contract when he hits the open market next summer.

    It's entirely possible Rondo wants all that money. In fact, it's likely. But he also wants to win, and aside from the fact that Rondo isn't deserving of a max deal six months before his 30th birthday, taking it would severely limit Boston's financial ability to construct a championship contender.

    No one knows how much the salary cap will rise by next July, but under current restrictions, paying someone who isn't a consensus top-10 player approximately $20 million per year is deadly. Rondo probably wants that money but knows he isn't getting it from Boston. 

    Or anywhere else, for that matter. This rumor is dubious.

2. Celtics Interested in Jordan Hill

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    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    Interesting one for @Celtics fans ... Boston contacted @Lakers F/C Jordan Hill directly last night, as well as his reps.

    — Sean Deveney (@SeanDeveney) July 1, 2014

    Jordan Hill isn’t bad! Axed Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni couldn't fit Hill into his up-tempo system (when he was healthy), so instead of smashing the boards with the ferociousness of Godzilla, Hill spent a large portion of last season on the bench.

    He started only 32 contests (out of 72 appearances) and played a paltry 20.8 minutes per game. Given the dearth of NBA talent on the Los Angeles roster, this was inexplicable.

    The former lottery pick still averaged nearly 10 points and seven rebounds with an impressive 19.3 PER. He turns just 27 in a few weeks and, at 6’10”, can provide the Boston Celtics with an interior presence they sorely lack. Interest for Hill is heavy, and it’d be a stroke of luck if the Celtics could sign him without overpaying.

1. Boston Connected to Kent Bazemore

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    It's disappointing on some levels, but this is the type of free agent Boston is most likely to sign this summer. Kent Bazemore is young and versatile, can shoot (50 percent from the corner in 23 games with the Los Angeles Lakers last year), and won't be attached to a hefty long-term price tag. 

    As first reported by ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin and Ramona Shelburne, Bazemore is also drawing serious interest from the Dallas Mavericks and the Atlanta Hawks, but Brad Stevens gave Bazemore a call himself, which indicates the Celtics want to be at the front of the line.

    Boston already has Rondo, Smart, Bradley and Phil Pressey in its backcourt, but depth isn't a bad thing. Bazemore can handle the ball and offers unique size (he's 6'5") and a long wingspan. He turned 25 on July 1 and has yet to really show all he can do for an NBA team.

    If the price is right, Boston should snag him.