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Things are really heating up for the Celtics with only seven days to go until the NBA trade deadline. Greg Monroe was just bought out by the Phoenix Suns, and Boston is ready to pounce with their $8.4 million Disabled Player Exception. The Tyreke Evans-to-Boston rumors are flying, but thus far Celtics boss Danny Ainge is holding on to the Celtics own first-rounder in this year's draft. I am well aware that Coach Brad Stevens has stated that the team is "not planning" on Gordon Hayward returning this season, but that is far from saying that he won't be back.


The Celtics' first decision is whether or not they want to make a run at Monroe. The money is there for him with the DPE, and the chance of joining the team for a deep playoff run is certainly there. But the question remains of how much playing time will he get in Boston. The Celtics are a young team and will certainly need veterans if they meet Golden State in the finals. With the recent season-ending injury to DeMarcus Cousins, New Orleans could be a player in the Greg Monroe-signing contest.


There is no doubt that Tyreke Evans is in demand around the League, and we are getting close to some kind of deal coming down. Memphis has clearly stated that they want a first-round pick for him, and so far, no final deal has been announced. Evans is another veteran who would be valuable to Boston in the playoffs. I had already run Bill Simmons trade idea below through the ESPN Trade Machine, and it does indeed work. But I sincerely doubt that Danny Ainge would make that deal. He treats his draft picks like young children and doesn't want to let them go too soon, and he may not have given up on Marcus Smart.


The Celtics front office and coaching staff have not ruled out Gordon Hayward coming back prior to the playoffs. They have only maintained that they are not planning on it. Makes total sense. Movie stars like Sylvester Stallone and Mark Wahlberg remind us of how much a person can change their body in a matter of weeks with long, efficient workouts, strict diet and proper supplementation.

I study and practice that health/fitness trilogy like the science it is. When those two actors are preparing for a future movie role, the change in physique can be dramatic. Gordon is spending 4-5 hours per day in the gym and on the basketball court rehabbing. His progress is amazing me. Just as I use advanced lifting techniques, including heavy negatives and time-under-tension, in my workouts, the Celtics medical staff is employing advanced rehab techniques to spur Hayward's possible early return to action. And it seems to be working.

I am not saying that all three of these players will be on the Celtics team fighting for a Championship. And I am not positively stating that any one of them will be involved in the post-season. It looks like Greg Monroe will be the initial focus here. If Danny Ainge sees a proper fit and Greg wants to get involved in a deep playoff run, then the Celtics are the right team for him. Once that step is decided, Evans will come next, followed by a decision on Gordon within the next 10 weeks. Things are heating up.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo via Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Tom Lane 2/01/2018 05:34:00 AM Edit
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