Depleted Celtics could trade for small forward

191544.jpg

Depleted Celtics could trade for small forward

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

WALTHAM It's that time of year again.

The NBA trade deadline is just a couple weeks away (Feb. 24), and the Boston Celtics are looking around sort of.

Every year, Danny Ainge does his due diligence to pursue any deal that he believes will bring the C's closer to winning a championship.

And with all the injured Celtics, you would think he would be even more pro-active, right?

Not exactly.

"Right now, we're a little bit depleted," acknowledged Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations. "But we have three games to go before we have the (All-Star) break. We feel not too far after the All-Star break, we'll have most of our team back intact. So that's encouraging."

On Wednesday, injuries limited the Celtics to suiting up just 10 players for practice.

The roll call for injured Celtics includes: Marquis Daniels (spinal cord bruise); Semih Erden (right adductor strain); Jermaine O'Neal (left knee surgery); Shaquille O'Neal (right Achilles tendon) and Delonte West (right wrist).

All but Jermaine O'Neal are expected back before or shortly after the All-star break. The timetable for his return is late-March or early April.

While Ainge's intention may be to keep this core group together, there is a wild card of sorts in his plan: Marquis Daniels.

The Celtics are optimistic that Daniels will return to the floor in 1-2 months.

However, that timetable might be adjusted after the C's get more up-to-date results.

Because of that uncertainty, Boston may be forced to pursue trading for a backup small forward.

"The Marquis situation is still a little bit up in the air," Ainge said. "We'll probably know more in another week or so of what's going on there, what's going on in Marquis' mind, get some opinions of different doctors."

From there, Ainge will determine if the C's need to stay their current course and let players heal, or pursue a potential trade.

If Ainge decides a change has to be made, it doesn't necessarily have to come about via a trade.

There are a number of players who are currently seeing little to no playing time that might be in line for a buyout that might make them more attractive to the Celtics.

However, the Celtics would have to waive someone currently on the roster, in order to sign a player who has accepted a buyout elsewhere.

And while Ainge doesn't rule out any method that will improve the C's, the most likely course for the Celtics to take will be either to stand pat with the group they have, or pursue adding a player via trade.

But between now and the trading deadline, the Celtics will keep looking around sort of.

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

Grousbeck: Celtics want Thomas longterm, but would draft a point guard

Grousbeck: Celtics want Thomas longterm, but would draft a point guard

The Celtics didn’t know when they traded a late first-round pick and Marcus Thornton for Isaiah Thomas that they were getting their next star player, but that 2015 trade deadline move has proven to be a pleasant surprise. 

Appearing on Felger and Mazz Friday, Celtics CEO and co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said that he sees Thomas, who will be a free agent after next season, in the team’s longterm plans. 

“Every one of these seasons is different. It’s like a movie and you have a cast of characters and the cast changes a little bit every season,” Grousbeck said. “We’d love to have Isaiah here for a long, long time. He’s a phenomenal player and he loves being here.” 

The Celtics stand a strong chance of picking first overall in June’s draft since they own Brooklyn’s first-round pick. Asked whether Thomas’ status would prevent the team from taking a point guard (which the draft’s two prospects play), Grousbeck said the team doesn’t need to decide that now, but suggested it wouldn’t.

“Especially if it’s a very high pick in the draft, you’ve got to draft the best player,” Grousbeck said. “You probably wouldn’t draft for fit as much as just you see if there’s a transformational player that you can have for 10 or 15 years there. If you see a guy like that, you’ve got to make everything else work, I would think.” 

Grousbeck: C's two stars away, so giving up everything for one 'didn't make sense'

Grousbeck: C's two stars away, so giving up everything for one 'didn't make sense'

Celtics CEO and co-owner Wyc Grousbeck joined Felger and Mazz Friday, defending Danny Ainge’s inactively at Thursday’s trade deadline. 

Grousbeck’s thinking was that the team is two major pieces away from being a  championship-caliber club, and that giving up assets without filling those spots completely might have been harmful.

“I think it takes some strength and courage not to do anything when everybody’s howling to do something,” Grousbeck said. 

The Celtics were rumored to have had talks with the Bulls about Jimmy Butler and the Pacers about Paul George. Neither player ended up being traded. 

“We’re very comfortable with what happened,” Grousbeck said. “We offered a lot for a couple of guys, and we offered all that we were going to offer and it just wasn’t going to happen. Those guys weren’t going to be traded and they weren’t. It’s not problem. 

“We figure we’re probably two guys away from being a really, really good team; probably two significant guys away, and if we put all the chips in yesterday on one guy, we’re getting rid of draft pick -- or picks -- and we’re getting rid of free agency this summer, so it’s sort of like one step forward, two steps back. It just didn’t make sense.”