It doesn’t surprise me that the Celtics are in heavy discussions to make a move by Thursday’s trade deadline, but I find some rumors hard to believe. For one, I don’t think the Celts will try to acquire Gordon Hayward from the Jazz. Hayward is a good player, an upgrade from Jeff Green, but he isn’t someone you could confidently throw a lot of money at. He is a restricted free agent this offseason who is expected to ask for 12-16 million dollars per year. If the Celts are truly in a rebuild, then signing Hayward to that type of contract could crush their ability to re-sign Rajon Rondo or Jared Sullinger, two supposed building blocks for the future.
As is the case every year the Rondo trade rumors come up, I don’t believe them. The only time Danny Ainge was serious about trading Rondo was when he had a chance to deal for Chris Paul, who is currently not on the trade block in Los Angeles. The same goes for a couple of point guards who are perceived to be better than Rondo, Russell Westbrook and Damian Lillard. The only scenario in which I see a possible Rondo trade is if the Celts can get two very good first round unprotected picks, as well as a borderline All-Star. And, according to reports, such a trade hasn’t really been out there. Unless Ainge thinks Kings’ guard Isiah Thomas is a legitimate building block, don’t expect Rondo to be dealt this week.
On a side note, I think if Ainge wants to reach far on dealing Rondo, then I wouldn’t be shocked to hear his name come up with regard to Derrick Rose. If the Bulls think Rose’s injury history could be an issue, then the possibility of dealing for Rondo would have to be in the back of the minds of the Bulls’ brass.
Brandon Bass and Jeff Green continue to be the most likely to be dealt before the deadline.
A name that isn’t getting a lot of buzz is Avery Bradley. His recent injuries have to be a red flag for Celts management, who didn’t pick up his team option this season, making him a restricted free agent. Out of all the young Celts assets, Bradley could get the most bang for the buck if a contender wants to deal for a defensive stud with an improving offensive game.
Jared Sullinger is a beast
Sullinger was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week last week and he continues to be a force on the glass. Sully had double digit rebounds in 6 of his last 7 games. He remains the Celtics best frontcourt option. If this season is any indication, then Sullinger, not Rondo, is the one Celtic that Ainge isn’t willing to part with.
The season is winding down
The All-Star break is known as the “halfway” point of the NBA season, but in actuality the halfway point of the season is in the middle of January. The Celts have 28 games left and before you know it the season will be over. The team continues to improve behind Coach Brad Stevens, and fans have to do their best to focus on the positives. Wins may not be plentiful in the coming weeks, but the Celts still remain entertaining, and they have the ability to play spoiler for many Eastern Conference playoff hopefuls.