Daniels out indefinitely with bruised spinal cord

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Daniels out indefinitely with bruised spinal cord

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON The Celtics had every reason to fear the worst.

Marquis Daniels, who has a history of back problems dating back to as recently as nine months ago, was motionless on the floor near the Celtics bench after colliding with Gilbert Arenas' shoulder while attempting to drive to the basket.

While there are still tests to be run and examinations to be made, the initial prognosis was about as encouraging as the Celtics could have imagined.

Daniels has a bruised spinal cord that will keep him out of action for a while. As of now, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is hopeful Daniels can return to action in a month or two.

Daniels suffered a similar injury last season in the playoffs against the Magic.

Team physician Dr. Brian McKeon said Sunday's injury is related to the previous one.

"We're getting all the tests now and we'll have more information for you Monday," McKeon said. "We'll get CT Scans, MRIs and then Serial examinations."

While the Garden faithful sat in shock as Daniels went down and didn't move, Celtics coach Doc Rivers knew it was serious as soon as Daniels hit the floor.

"It was no doubt," Rivers said. "Right when he went down I was already on the floor. Arenas or someone was standing near him and I just told him, 'Don't touch him.' Because I . . . you could see it was not good."

Ainge visited Daniels at New England Baptist hospital shortly after he was transported there after being carted off the Garden floor - he gave the fans a thumbs up on his way out.

The biggest fear when a player suffers the kind of injury that Daniels did is the potential for paralysis.

While there was some initial tingling sensations, Daniels had regained all movement of his extremities by the time Ainge saw him.

"I think he was scared when he was out on the court because he couldn't really move there for a short period of time so that scared him," Ainge said. "But he's had some issues with this before and some tingling in his body and his arms and things before so I think he wasn't scared, he was fine. He had it last year against Orlando in Game Five and I'm not sure before that. He's had a couple of episodes throughout his career."

It wasn't just the Celtics players affected by Daniels' injury.

Daniels grew up in Edgewater, Fla., which is just outside of Orlando.

In the offseason, Daniels spends time with a number of Magic players, including Dwight Howard, who acknowledged after the game how difficult it was for him to keep playing after Daniels' injury.

"It was sad to see somebody I know down on the ground like that," Howard said. "I just hope he's OK."

Howard added, "I was hurting the whole game, just thinking about him on the ground; his family, friends watching. I know it's something that nobody wants to see; especially when it's somebody you know."

Orlando's Hedo Turkoglu added, "I'm just praying that it's nothing serious. I just pray to God that he's OK."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Sources: Bulls asking for picks, young veterans in trade for Jimmy Butler

Sources: Bulls asking for picks, young veterans in trade for Jimmy Butler

NEW ORLEANS – All-star weekend is winding down and the Boston Celtics once again are seemingly at the epicenter of most trade discussions.

That’s in part because they have the pieces to help pull off a blockbuster deal for themselves, or become the third team to help facilitate a trade coming to fruition. 

But in talking with league executives and scouts this weekend in New Orleans, all agree that the Celtics are focused more on making a blockbuster-type move, rather than a deal that could make them slightly better than they are now. 

“Anything is possible as you know,” said one Eastern Conference executive. “But they’re not Toronto which is basically 'all in' this year to try and get past Cleveland. Boston’s in the thick of it all, but not pressed to do anything unless it makes them a lot better and to be frank, there aren’t a lot of those potential deals out there for them.”

That’s because the Celtics (37-20) have the second-best record in the East despite their preferred starting five (Isaiah Thomas; Avery Bradley; Jae Crowder; Al Horford and Amir Johnson) having played a very limited number of games (21) together thus far this season.

Even when everyone’s healthy, Boston understands that they still may not be enough to get past the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers. So the addition of a likely role player at the cost of one or more of their major assets (this year’s right to swap picks with Brooklyn or next year’s Brooklyn pick outright), is reason enough for Boston to pause and assess whether the benefit outweighs the cost of what they will have to give up. 

Boston can make a push for Denver’s Danilo Gallinari or his teammate Kenneth Faried who are both available and would help Boston’s overall talent base. They could also revisit Jahlil Okafor discussions or Nerlens Noel with Philadelphia, too.

But for what they need to significantly improve upon where they are now, they have to add a game-changing difference-maker to the mix. 

Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, Indiana’s Paul George and Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins are three players who on paper at least, would meet that criteria. 

Multiple league sources this weekend confirmed that each of their respective teams isn’t making a push to trade them. But like every team in the league, they will certainly listen to any and all offers. Only Indiana and Sacramento have come out publicly to say they are not planning to trade their players, with the Pacers indicating they’re willing to give up their first-round pick in order to add a stable, proven talent to the mix in order to help George going forward. 

Meanwhile, the Bulls have been somewhat indifferent to potentially moving Butler, who is playing his third all-star game tonight. 

That’s why several teams, the Celtics included, have inquired about Butler’s availability. While the Bulls haven’t set any specific parameters, league executives believe they are seeking some combination of high draft picks and young veterans (players with experience who are either near the end of their rookie deals or have team-friendly contracts) just to consider moving Butler.

Boston has exactly what the Bulls are looking for if they decide they are going to move on from Butler and rebuild, but how much are the Celtics willing to give up?

That more than anything else, is what will ultimately determine if a deal between the Bulls and the Celtics comes to pass. Boston loves Butler, and believes he could be part of their continued surge towards becoming an elite team that can bring home Banner 18. But the Celtics are not convinced that the addition of Butler would necessarily catapult Boston to the same level of Cleveland or ahead of them. 

Even if the Celtics decide to stand pat with its team as they are now and let the Feb. 23 trade deadline pass without making a move, the Celtics are still working from a vantage point that few teams in the NBA can work from – a team near the top of their conference with relatively young players all with good team-friendly contracts, and draft picks in the next two years that are each likely to be high lottery (top-14) picks.

"They’re well positioned for the future,” said Steve Kerr, head coach of the Golden State Warriors and the West all-star team. “Because of the young talent, because of the coach (Brad Stevens) and because of the draft picks that they have coming up. They could end up with the number one pick in the draft which is remarkable.”

Kerr added, “That doesn’t happen often when you’re talking about a team that’s one of the best in the league already. Boston’s in a great place.”

Wojnarowski thinks Celtics are perfect candidate for Jimmy Butler trade

Wojnarowski thinks Celtics are perfect candidate for Jimmy Butler trade

Most NBA teams would benefit from adding Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler. But few NBA have the assets to acquire him. The most legitimate suitor in the NBA resides in Boston.

"The potential of a Boston-Chicago deal for Jimmy Butler -- I think it will loom over the entire week," Yahoo! NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski said Saturday. "These teams have engaged on the potential of this trade. They have not gotten far down the road on it. There still needs to be alignment within the Bulls organization -- from ownership to management -- that they want to make the decision to enter a full rebuild.

He added: "But the poential of this deal really illustrates the State Farm right combo, because these are two teams that have exactly what the other wants. Boston has been hoarding assets for years for a couple of season, trying to get in the position to get a star player."

Wojnarowski suggested the first building block for the Butler trade would start with either the 2017 or 2018 Brooklyn Nets' first-round pick, which the Celtics acquired in 2013 in the Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce trade.

"And Jimmy Butler in Boston, paired with Isaiah Thomas and this Celtics team -- it would put this Celtics team in a position to seriously challenge Cleveland [Cavaliers] in the east, not only in the short term, but also in the long term."

Butler's contract extends to 2020, and then Wojnarowski explained Boston could then sign the guard to another long-term deal. In the meantime, he could help Boston surpass a vulnerable-looking Cavaliers team.