With back-to-back losses over the weekend, the Celtics now stand at 12-11 on the season. They're also currently the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, only a half game ahead of Philly for a spot in the NBA lottery.
Naturally, it's early. But when you look at the teams ahead of Boston in the standings New York, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, Brooklyn, Milwaukee, Indiana you get the sense that they're all (with the possible exception of Milwaukee) around for the long haul, and ready to contend with the Celtics from now until the end of April.
Once we get there, it's a different story; a very different beast. But with the playoffs still four months away, the Celtics have a ton of work to do. While they started this season with all their bases covered, with a roster built for success in the regular season and beyond, recent developments have left the C's in a place of weakness. With specifics voids that need to be filled in order to compete at the highest level.
And when I say "voids," I really just mean one particular, but enormous void. The same one I've been talking about for weeks.
A big man. Someone to give KG and Wilcox a little help help down low. Someone to give the Celtics a physical edge. Someone that will make the opponent think twice before entering the paint. Someone who can rebound?
As of Saturday, most NBA players who signed a new contract this summer became eligible to be traded. And while there are still a few players, including Jeff Green and Brandon Bass, who won't be eligible until January 15, the in flux of available players should set the wheels in motion on some legitimate NBA trade talk.
We've heard Marcin Gortat's name thrown around for the last few weeks, and I'm on record as saying that I'd do this particular trade in a heartbeat. But who else might be out there?
In a recent post on Grantland, Zach Lowe threw out a collection of potential NBA trade targets and mentioned two guys that I feel would fit well with Boston.
The first is Jason Thompson. The 26-year-old, former lottery pick is averaging 11.3 points and 7.9 rebounds in 30.4 minutes a night for Sacramento. He also just signed a five-year extension worth slightly more than 30 million. So, why would Sacramento trade him? Well, because he plays the same position as 2012 No. 5 overall pick Thomas Robinson. Not to mention, while it would take far more than one move to get the Kings back trending in the right direction, they could certainly benefit from the acquisition of a young, athletic defense-minded shooting guard like Lee. Especially when the rest of their back court consists of defenseless dudes like Tyreke Evans, Aaron Brooks, Isaiah Thomas and the one and only Jimmer Fredette.
How about Thompson for Lee and Fab Melo?
How about that same package for Portland's JJ Hickson? You remember JJ as the guy who the Cavs refused to trade for Amare Stoudmire back in the day (even though it would have made LeBron so happy), before eventually trading him to Sacramento for Omar Casspi and a first round pick.
Hickson was miserable in Sacramento, and eventually released, before signing with the Blazers and re-discovering his game. So far this season, he's averaging 12 points and 10.5 rebounds (four on the offensive glass) in 28.2 minutes a night, and while that (and his modest one year4 million dealer) might not make him a candidate to be moved, there's speculation that the Blazers might considering trading Hickson to keep the minutes open for LaMarcus Aldridge.
And whatever, this is all just speculation. But 'tis the season. And regardless of what actually unfolds, you can bet that the Celtics will be in on every conversation. For one, because they always are. And two, because this time, they really need to be.