NBA trade deadline coming into view


NBA trade deadline coming into view

CLEVELAND Now that the All-Star game is in the books, attention in the NBA will quickly shift to the next major event -- the NBA trading deadline.

There are a number of big-name players who might be on the move between now and the March 15 deadline. The most notable being Orlando's Dwight Howard, who has asked the Magic to trade him.

Orlando has been in talks with a number of teams since Howard's request, but a deal does not seem imminent. That's not surprising given that Howard was a huge draw for the home crowd at this weekend's All-Star Game.

Now that the All-Star Game is in the books and a number of teams -- including the Boston Celtics -- will be looking for ways to improve. And making a trade will certainly be an option.

Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, has said many times that he's open to doing whatever he deems necessary to help bolster the Celtics' roster.

But with all the injuries Boston has had this year, it's difficult to gauge whether this team needs a major shake-up or time to get healthy.

If you talk with the current players and head coach Doc Rivers, it's banged up bodies -- not bad players -- that are at the root of the team's problems.

When asked what the Celtics need to do moving forward, Paul Pierce said, "One, us being more consistent, to get healthy. Those are the two main issues right now. Just being consistent with what we're doing and being healthy."

Still, that won't stop the questions from coming about potential trades, something that's difficult for any player to completely ignore.

"It's impossible not to (pay attention to trade rumors)," said Nets guard Deron Williams, who was traded from Utah last year shortly before the trading deadline. "There's no doubt that the media is coming to ask questions everyday. It's part of the game. It's part of our job. Trades happen."

Ainge admits tough decision ahead between Young and Hunter for final roster spot


Ainge admits tough decision ahead between Young and Hunter for final roster spot

WALTHAM, Mass. – With the Celtics waiving Ben Bentil on Friday, Danny Ainge confirmed what has been reported for weeks: the final roster spot for the Celtics will come down to James Young and R.J. Hunter.

“It’ll probably go down to the wire, down to Monday,” said Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations.

Boston currently has 16 players in camp with guaranteed contracts. The league-maximum of 15 players has to be met by Monday at 5 p.m.

“We’re continuing to evaluate and look for opportunities out there,” Ainge said. “If there are any deals to be had which we’ve been looking for, for a few months. Both of those guys [Hunter and Young[ have played very well and have made the decision very difficult.”

Having to make a tough call at the end of training camp is nothing new to Ainge.

But this time around is very unique.

It’s highly unusual for a team to have to waive a former first-round pick that they selected.

Young was the 17th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft by Boston, while Hunter was selected by the Celtics with the 28th overall pick in the 2015 draft.

“Sometimes the decision is made for me. It’s really easy,” said Ainge. “But this year it hasn’t been that way. Both of those guys have had some outstanding moments in practice, in training camp and in games. So it’s been challenging.”

Boston being in this roster conundrum is due to having lots of draft picks in recent years that either didn’t turn into impact players initially, or were unable to be flipped for more established talent via trade.

In Young’s draft class, Boston selected him with the 17th pick after picking Marcus Smart with the sixth overall pick.

And in 2015, Boston picked Terry Rozier with the 16th overall pick and Hunter with the 28th overall selection. In the second round of that draft, Boston nabbed Jordan Mickey with the 33rd overall pick and Marcus Thornton at No. 45.

Last year’s draft was an even bigger haul for the Celtics, who went into the draft with a record-eight picks.

They traded two of the picks to Memphis, but used the other six which included Jaylen Brown with the third overall selection.

Ainge reiterated that the Celtics like what both players are doing, but doesn’t anticipate a trade scenario presenting itself that would result in both players sticking with the team.

“Unlikely, but always possible,” said Ainge when asked if it were possible for both to remain Celtics.

Both players are still on their rookie contracts, so that along with the increased salary cap teams have now makes each of them a low-risk addition.

However, most of the teams in the NBA have a full roster and the ones that don’t have a couple players in mind to fill out whatever openings exist.

That means there’s a decent chance that Hunter or Young will be waived, clear waivers and can then sign with a team of their choosing.

It sounds good, only if there’s a team to sign with which as stated earlier, is far from a given.