BOSTON With the trading deadline two weeks away, multiple league sources indicate that Paul Pierce and Ray Allen -- not Rajon Rondo -- are drawing the most interest from potential trade partners.
And since players signed during the offseason are able to be traded beginning today, the Celtics -- just like every other team -- have even more options to choose from when it comes to making a deal.
As for the two most sought-after Celtics, Allen and Pierce, it's clear why each is indeed in demand.
Allen has a skillset -- the ability to shoot the ball -- that fits in with any team. And with a 10 million expiring contract, there are a number of teams that could benefit from adding the NBA's all-time 3-point shooting king. Among those believed to have some interest in Allen, are the Los Angeles Clippers. With the season-ending injury to Chauncey Billups, the Clippers have a huge void to fill at the shooting guard position.
As for Pierce, he still has two years remaining on his contract after this season (the final year is partially guaranteed), but he's still one of the better one-on-one scorers in the NBA. Adding a player like Pierce, either as a starter or coming off the bench, could provide some much-needed depth to a title contender or a playoff team looking to improve their standing. Some of the teams believed to have interest in Pierce include both of his hometown teams -- the Los Angeles Lakers and the Clippers -- as well as the Houston Rockets.
Complicating matters for all teams in the mood to make a deal, is Dwight Howard's situation in Orlando.
The Magic appear to be focused on trying to surround Howard with the kind of talent he wants to play with, rather than grant his request for a trade.
Until there's greater clarity on his situation, a number of teams are reluctant to make a major move.
One of the rumors that made the rounds recently involved Orlando and Golden State having talks about a deal that would send Monta Ellis to Orlando. But multiple reports out of the Bay Area shot that rumor down.
Ellis is a player who has been linked with the Celtics in the past, but the two sides are not currently in talks about a trade. In addition, a league source said the C's are not actively discussing a trade for Stephen Curry but have expressed some interest.
Other players that the C's have been linked with via trade recently include Minnesota's Michael Beasley and Dallas' Lamar Odom.
In terms of Beasley and Odom, it appears that Jermaine O'Neal would be the Celtics player most likely to be included in such a deal.
The Timberwolves would likely want more than O'Neal for Beasley, but that's not necessarily the case with the Mavs and Odom.
When the Celtics were pursuing a trade for David West, they needed a third team to pull the deal off. That third team was going to be Dallas, which would have received O'Neal if the deal would have happened.
O'Neal, who is out with a wrist injury, played for current Mavs coach Rick Carlisle when the two were with the Indiana Pacers.
But when it comes to acquiring any player via trade, it comes down to one thing: What are teams willing to give up?
So far, not enough to make Danny Ainge pull the trigger.