It's no secret that the Boston Celtics have an array of expendable assets as they approach Thursday's NBA trade deadline, so many that rumors have them tied to several superstars around the league, most notably Carmelo Anthony. With the Cleveland Cavaliers potentially vulnerable after Kevin Love's injury, will Boston strike for something big?
A new report from the New York Daily News links the Celtics to both Pacers star Paul George and Bulls star Jimmy Butler. Both are on teams currently in the playoff picture, but the Celtics have a very attractive trade piece in the Brooklyn Nets' 2017 first round pick.
Two executives doubt that Ainge, who historically plays it close to the vest, would give up the Nets pick in a deal for Butler. However, Ainge might consider it in a trade for George, the Pacers- free agent-to-be who has expressed doubts over re-signing with the Pacers.
"With Danny, no one ever knows what he might do," said the executive. "He's one of the best. If he thinks he can make a run at the Cavs this season, considering all the injuries Cleveland has had, I can see him making a move.
Brooklyn is the NBA's worst team and this upcoming draft class is said to be one of the best in years. Parting with what could ultimately be the No. 1 pick in a stacked class would be a difficult decision, but either George or Butler would make the two-seeded Celtics significantly better. A draft pick could take years to develop and they may still fall short of what George and Butler already are.
If the Celtics did choose to make such a trade, obviously the Wizards would take notice. They are third in the conference behind Boston and a blockbuster deal could create separation between them and a potential Eastern Conference Finals berth.