NBA AM: Celtics Making Blockbuster Trade?
This season hasn’t gone quite as planned for the Boston Celtics. After a busy offseason in which the Celtics added Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, Jeff Green, Leandro Barbosa and Jared Sullinger to their core of Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, Boston has struggled and taken a step back.
The Celtics are 16-17 and in the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. They’re currently on a two-game winning streak, but prior to that they were on the outside looking in at the playoff picture in the East. Those aren’t the results that Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge had in mind when he decided to re-sign Garnett and Pierce rather than rebuild the team from scratch last summer.
Rather than give this group more time together, several league sources believe that Ainge wants to make a change. Boston may be looking to cash in some of their assets and make a blockbuster trade, according to several league sources. This could be why the team decided to open two roster spots yesterday, waiving Jarvis Varnado and Kris Joseph. The Celtics have been working the phones recently and weighing their trade options.
“They plan on making a move and they just created roster space for a trade,” said one league source.
One team that the Celtics have been in contact with is the Sacramento Kings. Boston has expressed significant interest in DeMarcus Cousins and would like to put together a package for him. Ainge seems willing to part with some combination of his recent acquisitions and draft picks. He doesn’t want to move Rondo, Pierce, Garnett or Avery Bradley, according to sources close to the situation.
While many teams have been scared off by Cousins’ immaturity and outbursts, the Celtics feel like they could help the 22-year-old grow and put him in an environment where he can be successful. Cousins and Rondo are friends and have trained together at the University of Kentucky in recent offseasons. The Celtics also have veteran leaders like Garnett and Pierce who can help Cousins mature and become a professional, which is something that he didn’t have in Sacramento. Boston also believes that head coach Doc Rivers can get the most out of Cousins and avoid any confrontations with the young center.
Cousins would make the Celtics better in the short-term and give them someone to pair with Rondo and Bradley long-term. If Cousins’ reaches his full potential, the Celtics could have their star point guard and star center of the future by making this trade. Cousins would become one of the franchise’s cornerstones once Garnett and Pierce are gone.
However, the Kings continue to insist that they’re not interested in moving Cousins.
If the Celtics can’t land Cousins, Rudy Gay is another star player that Boston has been linked to recently. Gay is another player who could help improve the Celtics today while also fitting into their long-term plans. Gay’s commitment to the Memphis Grizzlies has been questioned for awhile. When Gay signed his five-year extension with the Grizzlies, it was because he couldn’t pass up the $80 million, not because he’s committed to Memphis long-term. According to several reports, Gay is being made available in trade talks and he could be another player that Boston targets.
Sources made it clear that Cousins to Boston is more likely than Gay, but wouldn’t rule out the latter as a possibility, especially if the Celtics and Kings can’t work out a deal for Cousins. Marcin Gortat of the Phoenix Suns has also been mentioned as a possible target if a Cousins deal falls through.
The Celtics want to make a big move and they have the assets and roster space to make it happen. Even if nothing happens in the next few days, Boston is one team to keep an eye on as the trade deadline approaches.
Donte Greene Ready to Resume Career
Over the offseason, Donte Greene was on the verge of signing with the Brooklyn Nets when he suffered a broken ankle during a workout. Greene had to undergo surgery to repair his ankle and the Nets pulled their contract offer.
Now, Greene has recovered and is receiving interest from several teams.
On January 11, Greene will begin working out for teams, according to sources. The Brooklyn Nets, San Antonio Spurs, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Hornets, Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets have all expressed interest in Greene and discussed potential workout dates with the unrestricted free agent.
The 24-year-old Greene last played for the Sacramento Kings in 2011-12 and has career averages of 6.1 points and 2.4 rebounds. Greene will work out with teams over the next week or two and then sign with a team shortly after, if all goes as planned.
Contracts Become Guaranteed Today
At 5 p.m. EST today, all non-guaranteed contracts become guaranteed, so expect plenty of players to be waived throughout the day.
The cuts began yesterday with several players hitting the waiver wire.
The Cleveland Cavaliers waived Samardo Samuels, the Dallas Mavericks let go of Chris Douglas-Roberts, the Philadelphia 76ers cut Maalik Wayns, the Indiana Pacers parted ways with Sam Young, the Minnesota Timberwolves released Lazar Hayward and the Boston Celtics sent Kris Joseph and Jarvis Varnado packing.
Expect more cuts today and there could be some surprises.
Once these released players clear waivers, they could return to their respective teams on a 10-day contract or they could sign elsewhere for the remainder of the season.
HOOPSWORLD will keep you updated as teams waive players and finalize their roster.
Dirk Nowitzki Questions Mavericks’ Plan
After winning the championship in 2011, the Dallas Mavericks let go of nearly every key player from that title run. Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion are the only significant contributors remaining from that team as the Mavericks let players like Tyson Chandler, J.J. Barea, Caron Butler and Corey Brewer walk and failed to re-sign Jason Kidd and Jason Terry last offseason.
Now, after watching the Mavericks break up their title team and fail to acquire Deron Williams last summer, Nowitzki is questioning the plan in Dallas. The Mavericks are still hoping to land a star free agent such as Dwight Howard or Chris Paul next offseason, but Nowitzki is tired of waiting for next offseason and doesn’t believe that acquiring Howard or Paul is realistic anyway.
“It’s going to be tough now,” Nowitzki told ESPNDallas.com. “I always liked to think you don’t want to build your franchise on hope. We hoped for Deron last year. We hoped for Dwight. Why would he leave the Lakers? To me, it makes no sense. He’s in a great situation. Why would CP3 leave? [The Los Angeles Clippers are] the best team in the league probably right now. They’re probably the deepest team. So are you going to hope that we get something?”
“Maybe [Mark] Cuban has something up his sleeve,” Nowitzki continued. “Maybe you have to take a chance on a bad contract to get him in here and make something happen. I mean, I don’t know. That’s something we’ll have to see this summer. We’re going to play out this season. I’m going to get better and better, hopefully from game to game, so I can actually close out some of these games. And then we’ll see what happens.”
“We knew that coming in, that eight or nine new guys on one-year deals is not really an ideal situation, but what else is there to do?” Nowitzki said. “So either you break the whole thing up and trade me or you get a bunch of one-year deals and try to be a player next summer. That’s the decision we made, so now we’ve got to fight through it.”
It appears the Mavericks’ 12-year playoff streak is in jeopardy and Nowitzki is understandably frustrated.