Thursday, December 6, 2012

Boston Celtics Christmas Wish List : Possible Trade Targets

You could imagine Celtics' GM Danny Ainge's annual letter for Santa may look something like this:

Dear Santa,  
I have been a very good GM this year. At the beginning of the year, I had the chance to blow up my teams nucleus and begin a long and trying rebuilding process. I could have traded away Paul Pierce, who has dedicated his whole career to the Celtics, to stock pile draft picks. I even could have traded Ray Allen for a couple younger players, but I didn't. I was very nice and charitable this off season, and gave a lot of money to Jeff Green, who was recovering from a heart surgery, to come back and play for the Celtics. I truly hope all of these deeds don't go unnoticed by you and your elves. This year for Christmas, I want one thing only. A big man that can play center, rebound on both ends of the floor, and give my team a little ruggedness that could help us in the playoff run. I hope I'm not asking for too much, but it would be great if he wasn't inept on the offensive end too.  A little scoring never hurt, right?  
Sincerely,Danny Ainge 
P.S. Please deliver to the TD Garden on Causeway Street, right underneath the basket.  

I think Danny's sentiments are probably backed up by the rest of the Celtics Brass, coaching staff and fans.  The Celtics are 10- 8 on this young season that has been filled with ups and downs. There has only been two consistent qualities that the Celtics have demonstrated every time they step on the court. Rajon Rondo will have 10+ assists. Also the Celtics will get out rebounded and outplayed in the low post.

So Ainge is right, the next target on the Celtic's radar needs to be a dominating presence down low. The price of these additions may be costly. Bottom line is the Celtics are stock piled at the guard position, so it's not hard to believe Danny may pull the trigger on sending a promising young guard away...(ahem..Avery Bradley..cough) if the price is right.
Here's a list of possible big men on the trade block the Celtics could be after in the upcoming months.

Four Deals Avery Bradley Would HAVE To Be Apart Of . 

1. Anderson Varejao
It pains me to say this because he is one of the least likable players in the NBA, but is there another person in the NBA that would give the Celtics EXACTLY what they need, more than Varejao? The answer is a resounding NO.

He has been an absolute beast this year. He is scoring and rebounding at an astounding pace. The guy has also been able to continue to agitate the opponent, which is exactly what the Celtics need at this point. Defensively, he is able to guard the other teams 4 or 5, which would give Garnett a bunch of flexibility on that end.

And what has been the Celtic's biggest problem all year, and even going back to last year? OFFENSIVE REBOUNDING.  They haven't been able to get second chance points for themselves, and they consistently give teams second, third, and fourth opportunities. Varejao, is the answer to everything the Celtics are failing to do in the post.

Now here's the big setback. I think the Cavs would be willing to trade him if the deal is right, but the asking price would be extremely steep. Avery Bradley would definitely have to be involved, along with a Brandon Bass/ Courtney Lee type. I would most certainly pull the trigger on this deal, just as long as the Cav's aren't insisting on including Jared Sullinger in the deal. I understand the asking price is step, but that's a little too much for a Varejao, who has had recent knee issues.

2. DeMarcus Cousins
It's known that 'Boogie' Cousins has been volatile to say the least in his short stint in the NBA, but he has produced. Cousins is playing on an awful team that seems to have depth in the 4/5 department.

They just drafted Thomas Robinson out of Kansas, and even though he has struggled a little early on this season that could be contributed to lack of minutes on the floor. If the Kings have plans on making him a focal point of their team, which I would assume they would since they drafted him 5th overall in last year's draft, Cousins would be expendable. Also considering the fact that he may have worn out his welcome quickly with all his off court and on court nonsense.

Cousins could help in a number of ways with rebounding and scoring in the low post. Also, what better place for him to develop and lose his childish ways than Boston, a team full of veterans. If KG gets a chance to mentor the budding superstar, it could be the save of Cousins' NBA career.

Draft picks would be key for the Kings, so a third team may need to be involved but this is certainly a trade that Danny should consider. Best part, Cousins is signed for two more years, on his rookie contract, which is chump change.

3. Al Jefferson/Paul Millsap

How great would it be to have Big Al back in Boston, and see him play on the same squad as Kevin Garnett. I think Tommy Hienson may have a heart attack.

Here's the facts, the Jazz right now are a mediocre team that has 4 legitimate starting big men. Jefferson, Millsap, Derrick Favors, and Enes Kanter are all fighting for playing time. It seems that the Jazz are leaning towards building around Favors and Kanter. If Danny could swing a deal to get Jefferson or Millsap it would be a huge win for the Celtics.

Salaries would be tough to match up with Jefferson, who is making 15 mil this year, but Millsap is only making around 8 mil this year. Both are in the last year of their contract so it would be a rental, which may benefit both teams. The Jazz would get Bradley and what ever else is included in the deal, instead of nothing when they both walk in free agency, and it may lower the cost that the Celtics would have to give up.

Both guys are beasts on the glass. Jefferson has shown more of a finesse low post game and is averaging 17 and 10. Milsap is no scrub either though putting up 14 and 8. 

4. Marcin Gortat 
The Phoenix Sun's big man has been vocal about his want out of Arizona.  He is having a good year, even though if you listen to him, it's Alvin Gentry's fault for not using him right. Gortat brings everything to the table that the Celtics desperately need. Rebounding, size, and low post scoring.

However, his price tag may be around the same as Varejao and Cousins, but I'm not sure if he is on the same playing field. He may be the 'most available' of the three, but the asking price is right around the same.

This would have to be a last minute desperation move, because of the high asking price and the Celtics would need to pay him the remainder of his contract at about 14 mill over the next 2 years.

Since he has left Orlando, he has shown he can be a legitimate Center in the NBA. Danny may have a tough decision on his hands, but if the Celtics continue to struggle on the glass it may force his hand.

Deals Without Sending Avery Bradley Away. 

1. JJ Hickson
 Portland's center has produced alongside LaMarcus Aldridge this season. The Blazers took a flyer on the former Cav, and signed him to a 1 year deal.  Hickson has put up 11 and 10 this year, and is having a career year. Most likely if the Blazers continue to struggle they may be willing to give him up for a draft pick. 

He's young, can rebound, and you wouldn't have to break the bank to get him.  This deal may make the most sense if Ainge doesn't want to part ways with Avery Bradley.  It's not the most eye popping move but Hickson could certainly contribute right away, and be a significant upgrade to the Celtics. 

2. Carl Landry 
Landry has been on the Celtics radar for a while now. He's a grinder who is always in the right place. He has a knack for creating second chance opportunities. He's averaging 7 rpg but 4 of those are coming on the offensive glass on a nightly basis. Landry is 6'9 so Garnett would continue to play the 5, but Landry can rebound with the best of them. 

Golden State has David Lee, Andrew Bogut , and rookie Festus Ezeli and have looked like a bottom tier playoff team in the West. Landry could be a piece they look to deal to help with whatever their major need is come trade deadline if they are still in the hunt.

3. Jason Maxiell 
Maxiell is an undersized power forward, but has always seemed to be a factor on the glass.  He's averaging 6.6 rebounds per game, which isn't anything to write home about but still could help.  He is basically a replication of Brandon Bass, with out a jumper but more of a low post presence.  Maxiell will be cheap and may be worth taking a flyer on.

-Sean Dutra

Get at me on Twitter  @seandutra

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