Lots of chatter around some potential trades for the Celtics with the NBA Trade Deadline only three days away. Here’s a roundup of some of the players rumored to maybe be on the Celtics’ radar.
Guess the big question remains: does Danny Ainge want the Celtics to shoot for the playoffs? If that’s a yes, then it will be interesting to see what this team looks like come Friday.
Sam Smith of NBA.com is reporting that the Celtics are interested in All-Star Center Demarcus Cousins. Smith notes that there is speculation that Cousins and Karl won’t work together and Karl wants to play faster without a low post center. If this is true, and it’s all speculation at this point, Cousins wouldn’t come cheap. He’s averaging 24 pts, 12.5 rebounds and nearly 2 blocks per game.
Cousins would be an immediate difference maker for the Celtics. At the minimum, I’d expect that Ainge would likely have to part with two first rounders, and/or maybe a combination of another young player like a Bradley or a Sullinger.
Cousins has had a reputation of a being difficult to work with (OJ Mayo even said he had mental issues), so it might be something that Ainge and his team evaluate further before pulling the trigger on what could be another KG sort of impact deal.
Cousins was also recently in a little bit of a back and forth verbal altercation with Charles Barkley. Barkley expressed disbelief that the Kings consulted Cousins before hiring coach George Karl, saying that Cousins “hasn’t done enough to deserve that type of power”.
Sam Smith is also reporting that the Celtics might have their eyes on Jazz’ Center Enes Kanter. Smith notes that with Kanter losing minutes to Rudy Gorbert, the Jazz have been trying to move him, espeically with him heading for free agency. Here’s Smith:
The Jazz’ young big man has been losing playing time to Rudy Gobert, who’ll come much cheaper. Kanter is a free agent and the Jazz has locked up Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks and Derrick Favors. He said he’d like to be traded. The Celtics have been most rumored chasing big men and the Bucks are said to be interested as well.
The Salt Lake Tribune is reporting that the Jazz are unlikely to trade Kanter, despite requests from his agent. This also is likely a ploy by the Jazz to squeeze every last possible penny out of a potential trade partner. It wouldn’t be the first time.
Kanter, the third overall pick in the 2011 Draft has been somewhat of a disappointment with the Jazz. While he certainly hasn’t lived up to expectations, he could be a good piece for the rebuilding Celtics. There will certainly be some question marks, especially regarding rim protection and his overall defensive game, where Kanter is somewhat of a liability. These videos show how Kanter has trouble with the pick and roll. Given the Jazz’ public statements, Kanter might cost more then what he’s actually worth. I’m guessing at least a first rounder, potentially two.
According to Grantland’s Zach Lowe, the Celtics had ‘exploratory’ talks with the Nuggets about a trade for Ty Lawson. From Lowe:
The more interesting questions surround Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried. Denver isn’t shopping those guys, but Jusuf Nurkic is the only true untouchable on the roster, per several league sources who have dealt with the Nuggets. The sense around the league is that you could land Lawson or Faried with a Godfather offer. They are gettable. Boston and Denver have had exploratory talks about Lawson, per several sources.
Lawson is an impressive offensive player–(Lowe refer’s to him as the 9th, 10th or 11th best point guard in the league). He’s averaging 17 points a game, is third in the league in assists, and is a difference maker offensively. But as Lowe points out, he’s got a big contract and has had off the court issues.
Despite Lawson’s talents, I’m not really too sure why Ainge would make this deal. Lowe even notes that Smart wouldn’t be included in any deal for Lawson and from what I’ve seen, Marcus Smart is the future here in Boston. A move to get Lawson only holds back Smart’s progression, which doesn’t really make any sense to me. Without Smart, I’d be all for bringing in Lawson, but let’s hope this deal doesn’t materialize any further.
Goran Dragic/Isaiah Thomas
Back on Feb 11th, Gery Woeffel, beat reporter for the Bucks, rumor has it the Phoenix Suns want a first rounder for the (effectively) expiring contract of Goran Dragic.
Hearing Suns want a first-rounder for Goran Dragic and, rest assured, they'll get it. Rockets got to be tempted.
— Gery Woelfel (@GeryWoelfel) February 12, 2015
But just today Adrian Wojnarowski was out with a conflicting report:
Sources: Goran Dragic's agent plans to meet w/ team officials Tuesday, but Phoenix's determination unchanged: Suns want to re-sign Dragic.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) February 16, 2015
It’s clear that The Suns have too many talented guards in Eric Bledsoe, Isaiah Thomas and Dragic. One has to go, and with Bledsoe recently signing a five year deal, it’s not likely going to be him. Could this mean that it’s Thomas on the chopping block and not Dragic?
Marc Stein was reporting this just three days ago:
Word is Suns more apt to try to move IThomas before trade deadline, to restore last season's roster balance, rather than surrender GDragic
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 14, 2015
Bleacher report ran a story in which they suggested that the Celtics could offer a first rounder, Thornton and Sullinger for Thomas. Noting the following:
Thomas would fit nicely alongside either Marcus Smart or Avery Bradley in the Celtics’ backcourt of the future, as both current Boston guards have no problem checking opponents at either the 1 or the 2. Thomas could hide on the easier matchup while also providing the offensive punch and penetration neither Smart nor Bradley can.
I agree with part of this-it would be a great rotation with Thomas, Smart and Bradley. What you gain with Thomas offensively (great from three, excellent ability to drive and score) you lose on defense (he is 5’9″ after-all) but that’s where Bradley and Smart’s defensive prowess makes up for it. Giving up Sullinger would hurt, but if we’re getting someone like Kanter in return, I think it makes sense for Ainge to pursue.