The Boston Celtics have plenty of irons in the fire as the March 25 NBA trade deadline approaches. But which players are they hottest on?
The Athletic's Shams Charania offered some insight Monday morning in his roundup of NBA trade chatter, which linked the Celtics to three players in particular.
LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs
If the Spurs can't trade Aldridge, he could hit the buyout market, where the Celtics are expected to be among the "leading suitors" for the veteran big man along with the Portland Trail Blazers and Miami Heat, per Charania.
Aldridge, who turns 36 this summer and is making $24 million this season, may not be the best use of Boston's $28.5 million traded player exception. But he's definitely worth considering as a buyout option after the deadline.
The seven-time All-Star shot a career-best 38.9% from 3-point range last season and would give the Celtics an offensive boost in the frontcourt while also playing solid defense.
John Collins, Atlanta Hawks
Collins is a "player of interest" for the Celtics, but the Hawks are seeking a return of a "high-level first-round draft pick and/or a talented young player" for the 23-year-old forward, Charania reports.
Collins has been linked to the C's before, and his upside is undeniable. He's averaging 17.9 points and 7.7 rebounds per game this season and alongside Robert Williams could form a frontcourt with an incredibly bright future.
But Collins may seek big money in 2021 free agency after reportedly declining an extension worth more than $90 million in Atlanta. Considering the cost, a Celtics deal for Collins doesn't seem likely unless the Hawks lower their price tag.
Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings
Barnes "appears to be a more logical and likely target" for Boston than Collins, Charania wrote, citing colleague Sam Amick's report that the Kings have shifted to "seller mode" ahead of the deadline.
At 6-foot-8 with a 37.6% 3-point percentage, Barnes would fill the Celtics' need for "shooting with size." His $22.2 million cap hit would fit under Boston's TPE, as well.
Our Brian Scalabrine suggested Barnes is Danny Ainge's No. 1 target ahead of the deadline, so it may come down to what Sacramento asks for the 28-year-old.