Celtics

Report: Potential Celtics trade targets starting to emerge

Celtics

Danny Ainge apparently has several irons in the fire as the NBA trade deadline approaches.

The Boston Celtics view Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant as one of their "top" trade targets, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Thursday.

The Celtics and Charlotte Hornets also have interest in Nikola Vucevic, although a trade package for the Orlando Magic All-Star would need to be "massive," Charania reports.

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Boston is in the mix for Sacramento Kings big man Nemanja Bjelica as well, per Charania, but faces competition from the Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors.

Ainge has professed a need for "shooting with size" and all three players fit that bill: The 6-foot-8 Grant is averaging 23.8 points per game and shooting 36.3% from 3-point range, while Vucevic (6-foot-10, 24.6 points per game) and Bjelica (6-foot-10, 8.3 points per game) both have career 3-point percentages north of 35.

Vucevic might be the best of that trio, but the Magic reportedly are holding out for a steep return that may be too rich for the Celtics, who don't have many quality draft assets.

Grant is an intriguing option -- and a favorite of Brian Scalabrine -- who would help fill Gordon Hayward's role as a dynamic scorer/playmaker outside Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, but it's unclear what the Pistons would ask for Grant and whether Boston would have to part with a rotation player like Kemba Walker or Marcus Smart in the deal.

 

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Bjelica is the most attainable asset, and his $7.15 million salary would easily fit under the Celtics' $28.5 million traded player exception while allowing them to potentially add another player. The six-year veteran is shooting a career-low 31% percent from 3-point range this season but was above 40% in each of his previous three seasons.

Bjelica's Kings teammate, Harrison Barnes, also is expected to "receive interest" from teams, according to Charania, and also could be an enticing Celtics trade target.

The March 25 trade deadline is less than a month away, so the clock is ticking as Ainge ponders a move to improve the 18-17 C's.