Who should the C's target?

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Who should the C's target?

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?

Yes! Please.

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.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

All-Stars, studs and duds: Westbrook's reign as MVP comes to an end

All-Stars, studs and duds: Westbrook's reign as MVP comes to an end

NEW ORLEANS – You don’t rack up triple doubles at a historically ridiculous rate the way Russell Westbrook does without being able to dish out an assist from time to time.

The biggest assist he made in the 66th annual NBA all-star didn’t make its way on to the stats sheet.

But it was historical in so many ways.

Westbrook’s advice to Anthony Davis on how to win the game’s MVP award was indeed taken to heart with Davis winning the award following the Western Conference’s 192-182 win over the East All-Stars.

Davis finished with a game-high 52 points, shattering the previous mark set by Wilt Chamberlain in 1962.

Davis won the MVP award after Westbrook had won it each of the two previous All-Star games.

Prior to the game, Davis said he did do a little lobbying among his fellow all-stars in the locker room.

“I stressed that, I think more than enough, to the guys in the locker room before the game that I wanted to get the MVP for this crowd, for this city, and I ended up doing it.”

Following the game, Westbrook acknowledged that he did speak with Davis about how to win the MVP award.

When asked about what he said, Westbrook replied, “I’m not going to tell you, but he did a good job and got it done.”

Despite not winning the MVP award, Westbrook had a dominant game of his own as he tallied 41 points which was one point shy of the previous record.

But after the game, it was clear that he was more pleased with the performance of Davis.

“It was great,” Westbrook said. “It’s definitely always a great thing to do, especially here where he plays in front of his fans, his family. It’s a great experience and definitely happy for him.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the 66th annual NBA all-star game.

 

STARS

Anthony Davis

The hometown team’s best player delivered a scoring night for the ages, finishing with an All-Star record 52 points on 26-for-39 shooting to go with 10 rebounds. The previous record of 42 points was set by Wilt Chamberlain in 1962.

Russell Westbrook

His All-Star reign as the game’s MVP came to an end after having won the award the previous two All-Star games. He finished with 41 points.

 

STUDS

Giannis Antetokounmpo

He was an above-the-rim monster, scoring 30 points primarily on a dozen dunks.

Kevin Durant

He was filling up the stat sheet in several categories for the West, finishing with a triple-double of 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Kyrie Irving

Arguably the best performer for the East, Irving had 22 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds.

Isaiah Thomas

There were others who had a more prolific night shooting the ball, but Thomas’ impact off the bench was indeed felt. He led all East reserves with 20 points.

James Harden

The bearded one had a triple-double as well, although not the kind he would prefer. Along with scoring 12 points, and dishing out 12 assists, Harden also racked up a game-high 10 turnovers.

 

DUDS

None

There were some guys who didn’t do much statistically, but with this being such an exhibition-like event, putting too much stock in any player’s performance is a waste of time. They are among the top 24 or so players in the NBA. No amount of missed shots or turnovers will change that fact.

Stevens: Coaching NBA All-Star game a special opportunity

Stevens: Coaching NBA All-Star game a special opportunity

A. Sherrod Blakely goes one-on-one with Brad Stevens after he coaches his first NBA All-Star Game.