Depleted Celtics could trade for small forward


Depleted Celtics could trade for small forward

By A.Sherrod Blakely

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 Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Celtics hope to rebound after being outplayed by Bulls on the boards

Celtics hope to rebound after being outplayed by Bulls on the boards

Following Thursday’s 105-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls, the Boston Celtics will be on the prowl to rebound – literally – from its first defeat of the season.

Because for all that did not go right in Thursday night’s loss, the way Boston was beaten on the boards stands out emphatically.

“They got 24 more shots than us. We only turned it over (12) times,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters after the loss. “So that’s the obvious place they’re getting their possessions, on the glass. That’s going to be the number one thing, that has been the number one thing. It’s something we’ve talked about. We have to get better at it.”


Boston was out-rebounded 55-36 on the boards which heavily factored into Chicago’s 18-5 advantage in second-chance points.

In the Celtics' 122-117 win over Brooklyn on Wednesday, Boston won the overall rebounding battle 47-44, but had just 12 offensive rebounds compared to Brooklyn's 15 offensive boards. Despite the close margin, the Nets won the battle on the offensive glass running away, outscoring the Celtics 23-13 in second-chance points.

Stevens decided to start Tyler Zeller ahead of Amir Johnson to begin the third quarter, hoping Zeller would be a better matchup on the glass than Johnson who did not grab a single rebound in the 11 minutes of court time he got in the first half.

While Zeller did do a few good things on the glass and scoring in half-court sets, it wasn’t enough to swing the momentum Chicago was steadily gaining due to its ability to control the boards.

“I wasn’t real surprised but at the same time I knew it could happen,” Zeller told reporters, referring to Stevens’ decision to have him start the second half. “They did a good job of coming out and setting the tone. They beat us up on the boards, especially the first half. It’s something we have to get better at and continue to grow at.”

And it’s not a one-player or one-position issue, either.

Usually we think of bigs when it comes to rebounding. But Boston’s guards need to step up their rebounding game as well.

The struggles thus far have to be put in the context of this being just two games, the latter being the season opener for the Bulls who were jacked up more than usual due to it being the first game for Chicago native Dwyane Wade and ex-Celtic Rajon Rondo.

“We have to focus on boxing out,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “Guards have to do a better job. Guys like me, Al (Horford), Amir (Johnson), Tyler (Zeller) ... We have to do a good job of coming in the weak side and grabbing those; just focus on it, pay more attention to detail.”