Celtics

Depleted Celtics could trade for small forward

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Depleted Celtics could trade for small forward

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

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 atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Marcus Morris targeting Oct. 30 game vs. Spurs as date for Celtics debut

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Marcus Morris targeting Oct. 30 game vs. Spurs as date for Celtics debut

WALTHAM -- It appears Marcus Morris’ debut for the Celtics will be when they host the San Antonio Spurs on Oct. 30.
 
The 6-foot-9 forward confirmed to reporters on Monday that, for now, that’s the target date.
 
Morris spent time after practice playing some one-one-one against rookie Jayson Tatum.
 
“I’m trying to push on it a little more,” he said. “Felt pretty good beating the rook’s ass one-on-one.”
 
The addition of Morris to the lineup can’t come soon enough for the Celtics (1-2).  They have already lost Gordon Hayward (ankle) for the season, and Marcus Smart (ankle) missed Friday’s win over Philadelphia. Smart said he would probably be in uniform for Tuesday’s game against the New York Knicks. 
 
Those injuries have forced the Celtics to dig deeper into their roster, resulting in several first-year players seeing action. 
 
Having a veteran like Morris on the floor would bode well for the Celts in their quest to remain among the better teams in the East this season. 
 
Morris, who went through the non-contact portion of practice on Monday, joined the Celtics on Oct. 5, shortly after he and his brother Markieff (who plays for Washington) were acquitted of assault charges involving an incident in Phoenix in January of 2015. He appeared in one preseason game, scoring seven points on 3-for-6 shooting from the field.

Coach Brad Stevens said Morris was having some knee discomfort when he showed up for training camp. That, combined with showing up late to training camp because of his court case in Phoenix, resulted in him not having the level of conditioning he’s used to at the start of training camp. 
 
“It’s not that I’m in bad shape,” he told NBC Sports Boston earlier. “It’s just that I’m not where I expect myself to be conditioning-wise, right now.”
 
Morris echoed similar sentiments on Monday. 
 
“I’m in great condition,” he said. “I just want to be a little better. My conditioning has never been the problem. It’s the soreness in my [left] knee. It’s gotten a lot better over the past 10 days, so I feel I can play now. But be cautious because it’s a long season.”
 
Morris was acquired in the summer by Boston from Detroit, in exchange for Avery Bradley. The move was done to not only ensure there was enough salary cap space to sign then-free agent Gordon Hayward, but also for the Celtics to add a versatile player who can play both forward positions.