Blakely: Celtics in the market for bigs . . . badly


Blakely: Celtics in the market for bigs . . . badly

LOS ANGELES For the Boston Celtics, rebounding has been an issue all season.

It becomes an even greater concern with Jermaine O'Neal (wrist) not expected back, and Chris Wilcox out indefinitely while waiting to have additional tests performed sometime this week on his heart after the findings from an earlier cardiac test raised a red flag that warranted further testing.

Without those two, the C's best (and only) big man off the bench is Greg Stiemsma.

And with the NBA trading deadline at 3 p.m. Thursday, it's no secret that the Celtics are indeed in the market to add another big man.

Rivers acknowledges the need, adding that he hopes a big man can be added without disrupting the team's current roster.

"You don't want to do anything silly, you really don't," Rivers said. "We're building for this year and the future. We're not going to do anything that's going to hurt either one of those. Obviously, we're looking to grab a big from somewhere; hopefully by not giving away a player, doing it another route."

The Celtics have a pair of first-round picks to dangle out there as possible trade bait. Boston may also dangle out a player or two off their bench, such as Keyon Dooling or Marquis Daniels who both have expiring contracts and have limited (Dooling) to non-existent (Daniels) roles off the Celtics bench currently.

Rivers has already said that the team is working under the assumption that O'Neal won't be back, and if he does return it would "be a bonus."

As for Wilcox, who has been one of the team's top reserves the past couple of weeks, his uncertain status has made it difficult for the C's to figure out what their next move should be, roster-wise.

"We don't know if he's coming back or not, and the (trading) deadline is coming up," Rivers said. "So the quicker we find out, obviously that helps us."

But even if Wilcox were healthy, the need for size remains.

"We need another one, regardless," Rivers said. "So we'll be out there. But I don't think there are a whole bunch of teams out there lining up to help the Celtics."

Rivers and Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, have said tapping into the D-League is also under consideration.

"Of course, they're in the D-League and there's probably a reason for that," Rivers said. "And usually there aren't a lot of bigs floating around the D-League. But we're going to look everywhere, wherever we can."

Sunday's game only reinforced how badly the Celtics need help on the boards if they are to have any shot at making a strong surge during the second half of the season and potentially make some noise in the playoffs.

The Lakers had an eight-rebound edge, which was a key to Los Angeles enjoying a 17-8 advantage in second-chance points.

Boston tried to counter the Lakers' size with speed, and at times it worked.

But late in the game, a time when the game tends to slow down and half court offense is the norm, Boston's greatest weakness - lack of size - shined brightly.

Even Kobe Bryant, who is as clutch a player to ever play the game, looked to 7-footer Andrew Bynum in the game's closing seconds instead of getting shots for himself.

To see Bryantlook for Bynum did not come as a surprise to Rivers.

"Listen, they looked at our team and saw our size," Rivers said. "I think they knew exactly where they were going before the game. They won't say it, but the two places they wanted to go was Bynum and (Pau) Gasol. Kobe's going to get his, regardless."

Ainge: 'I’m glad we didn’t do any deals that were bad deals'

Ainge: 'I’m glad we didn’t do any deals that were bad deals'

Appearing on CSNNE Thursday afternoon, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said that while he would have liked to make a trade, he’s glad he didn’t do anything harmful at the deadline. 

Ainge said that the C’s spent significant time discussing various deals -- including some talks that date back over a year -- but that nothing came to be. 

“We’ve spent a lot of time and work and had some objectives that we wanted to accomplish that we just weren’t able to accomplish,” Ainge said. “In hindsight, sitting here now after the fact, I’m glad we didn’t do them. 

“I’m glad we didn’t do any deals that were bad deals. We can move forward. We’re in a very good position, and looking forward I’m very excited about our future.” 

Ainge: 'Nothing that was good enough to do' at trade deadline

Ainge: 'Nothing that was good enough to do' at trade deadline

Danny Ainge may have been busy in the days leading up to the trade deadline, but 3 p.m. came and went Thursday without the Celtics making a single move to improve their roster for the stretch run. 

Speaking to reporters after the deadline, the Celtics president of basketball operations said that none of his discussions proved to yield a deal worth making. 

“Ultimately, we had a lot of conversations,” Ainge said. “There’s things that we can do to improve our team, but nothing that was good enough to do. 

Ainge, who was rumored to be in talks for Indiana’s Paul George, among others, said it’s “hard to say” how close he came to finalizing any sort of trade. 

“I think that it takes two teams, so a lot of times we don’t know how close,” Ainge said. “A lot of times it’s very easy to tell that teams are very far apart, but a lot of discussion, good conversation, lot of rumors that were true, lot of rumors that weren’t true.”

Ainge did not specify what exactly the C’s were looking to add, saying only, “We’re looking to improve our team.” He said that it’s well-understood what value the Nets’ first-round pick holds throughout the league. The C’s reportedly were willing to include the pick in a trade for George before the Pacers decided against trading the player. 

Boston’s lack of moves makes it less likely the second-place C’s can catch the Cavaliers and enter the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. 

“Like we’ve said all year, we won’t put a ceiling on this team, but we haven’t seen the best of this team; I’m confident,” Ainge said. “I do believe that there’s more to play better and healthier. Our whole team hasn’t been intact for very many games. We’ve had our starting five I think for less than 20, but our whole team hasn’t been healthy for very many games the whole year. 

“As you guys have been watching lately, we’ve been winning a lot of games with everybody contributing. Players 10 through 15 are contributing to our wins, so we like the depth the team, we like the youth of the team, we like the energy and enthusiasm of our team, and I’m very anxious and excited to watch them the second half of the year.”