The NBA trade deadline is on Thursday and as the date approaches, more and more trade rumors are flying in by the minute. Per usual, the Boston Celtics are heavily involved at the deadline and could be willing to make a move.
Among the potential targets that the C's are pursuing are a couple of members of the Atlanta Hawks. As Jared Weiss of The Athletic outlined on NBC Sports Boston's Arbella Early Edition, John Collins is one of them. However, the power forward is generating a lot of interest from other teams across the NBA.
"He's probably the only player more popular than Aaron Gordon right now at the trade deadline," Weiss said of Collins.
Considering that Gordon could go for at least one first-round pick and a talented young player, that would put the price of the restricted free agent Collins off the charts.
Is there another player on the Hawks that Boston could pursue? How about Bogdan Bogdanovic. The veteran wing is in the first year of a four-year, $72 million deal and is a player that Boston has previously expressed an interest in.
"He's someone that I've heard, from multiple sources, that [the Celtics] explored trading for at the last deadline when he was in the final year of his contract with Sacramento," Weiss said. "That didn't end up happening."
Bogdanovic could certainly fit as a solid bench presence with the C's, as he is averaging 9.5 points per game this year. And if the Celtics could get both him and Collins, that would provide a big-time boost to their team.
That said, there is one player that the Hawks have shown an interest in recently that could help to facilitate a deal for Collins. That would be the longest-tenured member of the team, Marcus Smart. And as Weiss explained, that could be a good starting point for a Collins-Bogdanovic package.
Of course, getting Celtics fans to embrace the idea of moving on from Smart, one of the league's best defenders and one of the team's most vocal players, would surely be difficult. But as we've seen in the past, if Danny Ainge thinks a move is right, he will make it.
Smart alone wouldn't be enough to facilitate this deal. Boston would probably have to add some draft capital and/or young players like Grant Williams, Romeo Langford, Aaron Nesmith, or Payton Pritchard to get Collins and Bogdanovic, but they could be willing to do it if they see Collins and Bogdanovic as long-term building blocks.
Would Atlanta be willing to part with Collins and Bogdanovic? Weiss seemed to think that they would at least consider it if they do covet Smart as much as the rumors say.
"If it's to get someone like Marcus Smart who fits everything that Atlanta team needs, I think they might be willing to give up that hefty of a price," Weiss said.
We'll soon see what, if anything, the C's can get on the trade market. Most fans will agree though: Thursday can't come soon enough.