Celtics more likely to trade for Okafor than Westbrook or Griffin

Celtics more likely to trade for Okafor than Westbrook or Griffin

BOSTON -- As much as the rumor mill churns out smoke signals that a deal involving the Celtics is forthcoming, multiple league sources have indicated that Boston’s eagerness to pull the trigger on a trade has done little to get teams like the Los Angeles Clippers and the Sacramento Kings to budge in their resistance to moving players targeted by the C's.

And the reason I’m told is quite simple.
“You win with players, not picks,” one assistant GM told CSNNE.com. “Boston has lots of picks and some good players. But there’s not a great player on that roster. And the players you (media) guys keep writing and talking about that they’re interested in, are great players. [Celtics president Danny Ainge] will tell you, it’s not easy making trades. And when it comes to great players, it’s even harder to acquire them no matter how many picks you offer up.”
The consensus among league executives spoken to by CSNNE.com is that the most likely trade for Boston will be one in which they wind up with Philadelphia’s Jahlil Okafor.
“From the moment Philly drafted Ben [Simmons], everyone around the league knew that they would have to trade a big, either Okafor or Nerlens [Noels],” an NBA scout told CSNNE.com. “Okafor is the better scorer; it’s not even close really. But Nerlens has that ability to run the floor and can protect the rim. Those two qualities . . . you can’t have enough guys in the frontcourt who call those two skills, strengths. That’s why Okafor is the more expendable player.”
The two teams were reportedly close to getting a deal done on draft night, and league sources claim both have kept the door ajar to getting a deal done between now and the start of training camp.

“[Okafor] would help Boston, obviously,” said a league official. “But it’s clear that Boston isn’t looking to just add a player who can make them better. They’re looking for a guy who can come in and make an immediate impact in a really, really big way. Okafor’s good, but I don’t think he’s that kind of guy for that team.”
And then there's the off-the-court concerns with Okafor, who was involved in a fighting incident in Boston following a Sixers loss to the Celtics last season. 
Ainge has never been one averse to taking a chance on a player. But he’s never been one to gamble just for the sake of gambling, either.
It has to be the right player, at the right time who provides the right fit that makes rolling the dice on them a chance worth taking.
There is no doubt Ainge and company are eager to get a blockbuster-type trade done, the kind that will immediately transform the Celtics into one of the better teams in the NBA.
But, as we’ve seen, those deals are few and far between.
 A third league official said Ainge is doing what he always does this time of year -- biding his time, waiting for an opportunity to snare the biggest fish that “no one sees coming.”
“I have no idea who that big fish is,” the executive told CSNNE.com. “But Danny knows there have to be certain circumstances in play that make guys available who wouldn’t be if you just went by talent. That’s how they got Ray Allen. That’s how they got KG (Kevin Garnett). Even Isaiah Thomas a couple years ago was about circumstance more than anything else. He’s looking for something like that now.”
And as we’ve seen with Ainge, he doesn’t mind waiting around for that opportunity to present itself.
When it does, he’ll be ready.
And based on the caliber of players Boston is trying to haul in now, it’ll be the kind of addition that will make those much-talked about fireworks we’ve been waiting to see finally come to fruition.

NBCSB Breakfast pod: How Jayson Tatum compares to Paul Pierce

NBC Sports Illustration

NBCSB Breakfast pod: How Jayson Tatum compares to Paul Pierce

1:25 - With half of the Celtics roster on the shelf, we’ve been able to see just how great a scorer Jayson Tatum can be. A. Sherrod Blakely, Mike Girardi and Trenni Kusnierek discuss how Tatum compares to Celtics legend, Paul Pierce.

5:35 - The NFL Competition Committee is giving it their best shot at modifying the ‘catch rule’ and Tom Curran, Kyle Draper and Hardy try to wrap their heads around the proposed changes.

11:02 - The Bruins clinched a playoff berth despite losing to the St. Louis Blues in overtime. Joe Haggerty joins Tom Giles to break down the game, which included another goal by Ryan Donato and a questionable call on a high hit on David Krejci.

Report: Kyrie Irving to undergo knee exam Thursday


Report: Kyrie Irving to undergo knee exam Thursday

The second opinion on Kyrie Irving’s sore left knee will be done on Thursday, according to the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett.

Irving, who has missed the last four games, is expected to decide between having a surgical procedure performed to help alleviate some of the soreness, or continue to manage it with rest.


During the 2015 NBA Finals, Irving suffered a fractured left kneecap injury which was the beginning of Irving’s left knee issues.

While Irving has had soreness of some form during various stretches of play this season, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has seen him making progress recently.

“That knee is still sore,” Stevens said. “He’s worked really hard to manage it throughout the entire season. He’s had some pretty good days recently. I’m encouraged by the big picture.”

But Stevens has made it clear that he supports Irving getting a second opinion, adding that Irving’s absence is due to the knee being too sore for him to play at a level he’s accustomed to.

“He’s out because of knee soreness, not because we’re choosing to rest him,” Stevens said. “That’s the bottom line. Again, we want him to feel 110 percent. He wants to feel 110 percent. Obviously, we’re fortunate we created a cushion early on in the year with playoffs and everything else. This is not one of those situations where we’re choosing to rest someone; it’s because he has a sore knee.”