Trade rumors heating up around Celtics

Trade rumors heating up around Celtics
December 16, 2013, 8:15 pm
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BOSTON — Aside from the Boston Celtics rookies, just about every player on the Celtics roster is familiar with this time of year when trade rumors make the rounds.

But this is all new to head coach Brad Stevens who has his own way of handling such talk.

"I don't pay attention to that stuff," said Stevens in this his first season. "The only time I would pay attention to it is if Danny (Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations) came in and told me that something was being considered and we haven't had any of those discussions."

The Celtics came into the season determined to avoid being a luxury tax payer this season, meaning any deal that would jeopardize that this season or even next season, isn't happening.

That's why the rumors about Boston being involved with a deal to acquire Houston's Omer Asik is unlikely to happen unless the Celtics look to make other deals as well.

Although Asik's salary counts $8.4 million against the cap next season, his actual salary is a shade under $15 million which makes it unlikely for Boston to do such a deal unless they had a taker for one of their higher-salaried players like Gerald Wallace or Rajon Rondo who are due $10.1 million and $12.9 million, respectively, next season.

Boston has not found much interest in Wallace, while multiple league sources contacted on Monday told that the Celtics aren't going to get any "legitimate" offers for Rondo until he returns to playing.

A more likely scenario for the Celtics is to pursue a player still on their rookie contract whose potential is of greater value than their present play.

A league source told to keep an eye on New Orleans' Austin Rivers who is playing sparingly in this, his second season.

While no deal is imminent, there's no denying the interest that Rivers generated within the Celtics front office leading up to the 2012 NBA draft.

Boston looked into possibly moving up the draft board with an intent on taking Rivers, the son of former Celtics head coach Doc Rivers.