Celtics' Last-Minute Trade Targets Before 2021 NBA Deadline

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistMarch 23, 2021

Celtics' Last-Minute Trade Targets Before 2021 NBA Deadline

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    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    The Boston Celtics make the shortlist for the NBA's biggest underachievers in the 2020-21 season.

    That could also group them among the busiest teams between now and Thursday's trade deadline.

    Despite the All-Star ascensions of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, this is a near-.500 team that's almost equidistant from the top of the Eastern Conference standings to the bottom. Considering this club carried championship expectations into the campaign, that won't cut it.

    If the Celtics are active over the next two days, these are three targets who could land in their crosshairs.

Bogdan Bogdanovic, Atlanta Hawks

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    The Celtics have been missing a complementary scorer and shot-creator since Gordon Hayward skipped town in free agency. They might be eyeing Bogdan Bogdanovic for those roles, though their interest in the 28-year-old swingman reportedly predates even Hayward's exit.

    The Celtics discussed Bogdanovic deals when he was still a member of the Sacramento Kings, per The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor, and the interest still exists on Boston's side.

    It makes sense, especially if you believe Bogdanovic is better than he's been able to show during an injury-riddled season. Perhaps his struggles, paired with the $72 million contract he signed with Atlanta this offseason, could make for a buy-low opportunity.

    Just last season, Bogdanovic was good for 15.1 points, 3.4 assists and 2.7 triples per night. Adding him would help flesh out a Boston attack that has struggled to find consistency beyond its young star wings.

John Collins, Atlanta Hawks

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    The Celtics are in the market for a big man. They probably have been since Al Horford exited in 2019 free agency.

    That means they are in the market for John Collins, interest confirmed by O'Connor. Any team in search of extra oomph at the 4 and 5 spots should be thinking long and hard about the bouncy 23-year-old.

    Collins is technically experiencing a down year, but that makes it sound worse than it is. Yes, it means his production has backtracked from last season, but he's still one of only 10 players averaging 18 points, seven rebounds and one three-pointer on 37-plus percent long-range shooting.

    The fact he can space the floor and block shots means he can operate alongside a center or hold down that spot himself. Getting him would give coach Brad Stevens more flexibility to find his best five-man unit ahead of the postseason.

Terrence Ross, Orlando Magic

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Given some of the second-team firepower the Shamrocks have featured in recent seasons, you wouldn't think it would be too difficult to identify their top-scoring sub.

    We'll wait if you need more time. ... OK, give up now? Well, the highest-scoring Celtic among players who have come off of the bench more than they have started is Robert Williams III. He's averaging just 7.5 points per game and has taken all but 19 of his field-goal attempts within 10 feet of the basket. After Williams, it's rookie Payton Pritchard at 7.2 points per night.

    Clearly, the C's need more scoring support, especially at the wing spots. That's where Terrence Ross could fit. He's the kind of ignitable fire-baller Boston hopes rookie Aaron Nesmith becomes.

    Ross is averaging a career-high 16.0 points per game and splashing 2.3 triples at a 36.0 percent clip. If the Orlando Magic opt for a rebuild (which they arguably should have done already), one would assume they would be looking to offload Ross and the $24 million he's owed for the next two seasons.


    Statistics used courtesy of Basketball Reference and NBA.com. Salary information obtained via Basketball Insiders.