The NBA Trade Deadline is fast approaching, as teams are furiously looking to add or sell ahead of Thursday. We have already seen the first mega-deal occur, as the Sacramento Kings traded star big man, DeMarcus Cousins, to the New Orleans Pelicans for essentially a bag of balls. Our Boston Celtics seem to be in on almost everyone, so without further ado.....
The Celtics have been linked to Melo for the past season or so, as the New York Knicks have shrunk into irrelevancy. In 56 games this season, Melo is averaging 23.4 points per game, 6 rebounds per game, and 2.9 assists per game. His numbers make one think that he is a superstar, but Melo has had character issues since he entered the league in 2003. According to multiple reports, the New York Knicks have actually called the Celtics to see what their interest in Melo is, but Boston let it be known that they have not had legitimate interest in Anthony since last season. Rumors were swirling last night, as the Celtics' Instagram page followed Carmelo Anthony. Unless the Celtics can get Anthony without giving up virtually anything, I just don't see this deal happening.
UPDATE 3:31 P.M. February 22
According to Ian Begley of ESPN NY, the Celtics have still not ruled out the possibility of trading for Carmelo Anthony who, according to reports, would waive his no-trade clause to Boston.
According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the Celtics are still considering a trade for Philly big man Jahlil Okafor, who now appears to be the odd man out. The 76ers are dead-set on building around Joel Embiid and have recently been giving a serious look to Nerlens Noel, who is a restricted free agent after this season. In 38 games this season, Okafor is averaging 11.4 points per game and 4.8 rebounds per game. While Okafor has elite scoring ability, he is a below-average rebounder, especially at 6-foot-11. Furthermore, Okafor's focus has come into question, as he has never been in peak physical condition. In fact, trade rumors surfaced so much in the past couple of weeks, the 76ers held Okafor out of games because of trade speculation. At this point, it appears as if the 76ers are overvaluing Okafor because he was taken third overall, and the Celtics are not going to give up their Brooklyn picks or significant roster assets.
UPDATE: 12:50 P.M. February 22:
According to multiple reports, the 76ers believe Okafor is part of the secondary trade market, and teams that balk on Jimmy Butler (I.E., the Celtics), could be interested in Okafor. Additionally, the 76ers are open to trading Nerlens Noel if the market is as dry as it is right now for Okafor.
While the Blake Griffin trade speculation seems a bit more developed than Jahlil Okafor or Carmelo Anthony, I find a deal for the star power forward extremely unlikely. According to multiple reports, the Clippers want Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley or Marcus Smart, and future first round picks for Griffin. In 36 games this season, Griffin is averaging 21.9 points per game, 8.8 rebounds per game, and 5 assists per game. The kicker? Griffin can opt out of the final year of his contract this offseason and become an unrestricted free agent. With the steep price and doubt of if he will sign a contract extension, or perhaps just opt out entirely, I would be surprised if this rumor gains any traction.
Here is the big one. The Celtics have been linked to Jimmy Butler for the better part of two seasons. The star 27-year-old Marquette product has really grown into his own with the Bulls, as he is now averaging 24.5 points per game, 6.3 rebounds per game, and 5 assists in 51 games played. Plain and simple, the Bulls are a complete dumpster fire right now. They were able to beat the Celtics in the final game before the All Star break, but are sitting at the bottom of the Eastern Conference playoff picture and could get a king's ransom for Butler. As of right now, the rumors are all over the place. According to the Chicago Tribune, the Bulls have let it be known that they are not planning on trading Butler, while WEII is reporting the Celtics have "zeroed in" on Butler. Truthfully, I think Butler is available, but at a steep price. Both teams are going to play chicken and, like Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix, I believe this thing is going to escalate right up until the end of the Trade Deadline. I have been on the fence about Butler, but I am officially all in on him. Go make a move, Danny.
UPDATE 5:06 P.M. February 21:
According to CSNNE.com, the Celtics have been unwilling to trade one of their Brooklyn Nets picks for Jimmy Butler, but would do so for Paul George.
UPDATE: 11:11 A.M. February 22:
According to multiple reports, the sticking point in a potential deal for Jimmy Butler is Jae Crowder. The reported deal, initially, was Jaylen Brown, Jae Crowder and the 2017 Brooklyn Nets pick. The Celtics have refused this deal, because they like all those players, but are most concerned with losing Crowder, as they believe Smart, Bradley, Crowder and Butler's defensive minded playing style can threaten Cleveland in the playoffs.
Furthermore the Celtics are extremely hesitant to trade the 2017 Brooklyn Nets pick, but are willing to trade the 2018 Nets pick, which seems to be okay with the Chicago Bulls.
UPDATE: 12:45 P.M. February 22:
According to Turner Sports' David Aldridge, including Jae Crowder in a deal for Jimmy Butler is a must for the Chicago Bulls. Furthermore, according to The Vertical's Chris Mannix, the Bulls and Celtics will ramp up their talks as we approach the Trade Deadline on Thursday afternoon.
According to reports, the Celtics have a "deep interest" in the 6-foot-6 shooting guard out of the University of Texas. In 57 games, Tucker has averaged 7 points per game, 6.3 rebounds per game, and 1.3 assists per game. Tucker seems like a versatile player that can play multiple positions and fill up the stat sheet. He would be a good addition to this Celtics squad, but Boston better give NOTHING to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for the 31-year-old.
UPDATE 4:53 P.M. February 21
Well, well, well. Truthfully, I left this guy off of the original list of rumors because I thought there was not shot. Well, that may have just changed. According to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, citing two NBA executives, there is a sneaking suspicion that Danny Ainge may offer more in a deal for Paul George than Jimmy Butler, who was thought to be the top target for the Boston Celtics as we approach the Thursday Trade Deadline. People believe, because of Danny Ainge and Larry Bird's prior relationship, a mutually beneficial deal could be worked out for George. While the Pacers are currently sixth in the Eastern Conference, Paul George let it be known in the past week that he is not comfortable signing an extension yet, as he can opt out of his player option after the 2017-2018 season. This may be the most interesting trade rumor yet, as Paul George can put you right there with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East.
UPDATE: 3:32 P.M. February 22:
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, the Pacers are currently assessing the trade market for Paul George, who has reportedly been hesitant to sign an extension with Indiana because he is interested in signing with his hometown Los Angeles Lakers after the 2018 season.
UPDATE 11:18 A.M. February 23:
According to reports including Chris Haynes, the Celtics, among other teams, are hesitant to trade for Paul George because he will not commit to a long-term extension with any team except the Lakers.
UPDATE 11:38 A.M. February 23:
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, the Celtics and Pacers have had preliminary talks about Paul George, but the Celtics are not willing to include the Nets pick at this time. According to Woj, a deal will not get done, or even start, until the Celtics include this pick.
UPDATE 11:43 A.M. February 23
According to Woj, the Celtics have now included the 2017 Nets pick in the conversation, but have still not met the Pacers' asking price.
Update: 1:20 P.M. February 23
In what may be the biggest rumor of the day, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the Pacers are starting to become involved in talks with other teams to potentially clear room on the current roster. According to Windhorst, the teams involved in these deals believe it is related to the recent Celtics rumors.
UPDATE 6:43 P.M. February 21
It has been well-known that the Detroit Pistons are not attached to their star big man Andre Drummond, as rumors circulated a week ago that he was involved in a potential deal for ex-Kings center DeMarcus Cousins. Pistons head coach/general manager Stan Van Gundy has been very vocal about making moves at the deadline, and after Drummond removed all mention of the Pistons from his Twitter bio, many believe a blockbuster is int he works. Furthermore, Drummond re-tweeted Isaiah Thomas' eyeball emoji then posted his own, which is nothing out of character for the free-spirited UCONN product. However, Thomas' tweet suggests the Celtics may be closing in on a big move, as he tweeted the same thing right before Al Horford signed with the Celtics this past summer. According to CSNNE.com, the Celtics are a possible landing spot for Drummond if he is on the move, but that is no sure thing, yet. Drummond would provide some much-needed rebounding and presence in the paint, but does not really fit the Celtics' style of play under head coach Brad Stevens. I like the idea of adding rebounding, but it all depends on the price.
UPDATE: 10:20 A.M. February 23
Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried
As we start closing in on the NBA Trade Deadline, a lot of different rumors are going to surface, but this is a deal that I could actually see happening for the Celtics. According to Mike Ortiz Jr. of DYST Now, the Boston Celtics have been in consistent talks with the Denver Nuggets about Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried. The Celtics are looking for some presence down low and all of these players can help the Celtics stretch the floor and score. If the price is not astronomical, I could see the Celtics trading for one of these players if it does not cost a Brooklyn Nets pick. Furthermore, like many players on this list, the Celtics have been enamored with Gallinari for the better part of the last two seasons. It will be interesting to see if the Celtics make a move for one or two of these guys if they cannot get Jimmy Butler or Paul George.
UPDATE: 10:44 P.M February 23
According to Ortiz, the Celtics and Nuggets have stalled in discussions as of late because Boston is reluctant to include a first round pick or Jaylen Brown in any type of deal.
I will continue to update this column with the latest news and rumors, so be sure to check back in.