It may be hard to believe that the NBA All-Star Game has already come and gone, but it has, and that can only mean one thing: the trade deadline is upon us.
The Boston Celtics are a team that has been mentioned in quite a few crazy trade rumors, including having talks with the Los Angeles Clippers about Kevin Garnett, trying to pry Josh Smith away from the Atlanta Hawks and the absolutely crazy discussion with the Los Angeles Lakers about a Rajon Rondo for Dwight Howard swap that was denied by Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak.
Of course, rumors always abound this time of year, and in reality, most of those rumors never end up coming to fruition.
So, which Boston players are most likely to be on the move? Let's take a look.
Brandon Bass has been the C's' whipping boy this season, taking a ton of flak from fans due to his unsatisfactory performance after inking that four-year deal back with the Celtics over the summer.
Because of the fact that Bass now has a rather poor contract given his level of play throughout the first several months of the 2012-13 campaign, it may be difficult for Boston to actually send him off. However, under the right circumstances, it could be possible that the C's could unload him.
For example, you would have to think that Bass is one of the players Ainge discussed with the Hawks in a potential deal for Smith. Of course, Bass would not be the only player going Atlanta's way in any deal for J-Smoove, as that would be highway robbery. If the Celtics throw in some draft picks and another player (Jeff Green's name has been mentioned), then you may have something.
The problem is that with Jared Sullinger now out for the remainder of the year, Boston has to be prudent in moving Bass.
That brings us to Green.
Now, I am going to throw my own opinion into this for a second: I do not think Ainge should move Green. He has been playing some outstanding basketball over the past few weeks and is starting to live up to the four-year, $36 million contract the C's awarded him with this past offseason.
Still, Green is certainly one of the Celtics' most attractive trade chips, and one would be remiss not to assume he is the player Hawks GM Danny Ferry is asking about.
Assuming Boston's reported interest in Smith is accurate, Green would seem like the perfect player for Atlanta to receive in return. Again, he is starting to play up to his contract, and like Smith, he can play either forward position. Is he as good as J-Smoove? No, but he has room to grow, and if he keeps this level of play up, he could end up being a very good player.
Now, will the C's move Green? Probably not, but you can't help but think that he is one of the prime candidates to have his bags packed should the Celtics decide to try and make a blockbuster deal.
After getting off to a slow start, Courtney Lee has really turned it around over the past couple of months. As a result, his trade value has increased significantly.
Lee is a very good defensive guard who can also get out on the break and make plays in transition, something that is very valuable in this league. There are a ton of teams who would absolutely love to have Lee on their roster, and Boston knows this.
Lee is definitely one of the C's' best trade pieces, and should Ainge try and make a move to acquire a big man, Lee will probably be one of the main guys discussed.
The problem is, with the season-ending injuries to Rondo and Leandro Barbosa, the Celtics' backcourt depth is already depleted as it is. If Boston decides to trade Lee, it would likely ask for another guard back in the deal, and that could complicate things in terms of making salaries match.
The final word
Taking everything into consideration, it is going to be extremely tough for the C's to make any deadline deals. With only 10 active players on the roster, the Celtics really can't afford to trade more players than they are getting back, and they know that.
As far as Garnett goes, it is hard to see him being moved. The rumored package of Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan just doesn't seem like enough for the future Hall-of-Famer. Will Boston trade K.G. for a guard with potential and a center who may be one of the most clueless offensive players in the league?
It doesn't seem likely, and the fact that the Clippers are now talking with the Utah Jazz about a Bledsoe for Paul Millsap deal leads me to believe that the talks between the C's and Clips are all but dead.
Plus, Garnett has final say in these matters as he has a no-trade clause, and he has no intention of waiving it.
Any potential deal for Smith doesn't seem all that plausible, either. Yes, the Hawks do seem intent on moving their star forward, but with only a handful of healthy bodies on the roster, it is going to be some kind of challenge for Ainge to put together an offer that makes sense for both sides. Would it be nice to have Smith in green? Sure, but not at the expense of whatever little depth the Celtics have left.
The most probable scenario for Boston in terms of adding players is through waivers. Generally, a couple of decent guys get waived every year. In that case, the C's can add players without losing any.
There is already talk that the Celtics are in the process of signing Terrence Williams to a 10-day contract, for example:
Regardless, it should be an interesting next few days.