Celtics looking to add a big man, 'owe it' to KG and Pierce to make a run
Six straight wins have lifted the Celtics three games over .500, and into 7th place in the Eastern Conference. Not ideal playoff position by any stretch, but the team has flourished since losing Rajon Rondo for the season, and it seems they've done enough to impress team President Danny Ainge. According to Ric Bucher, Ainge has taken note of the recent stretch, propelled by great play from both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, and is looking to add a big man to help Pierce and KG out. Here's what Bucher posted on Sulia.
The Grizzlies are not done dealing, according to multiple sources -- they're just not looking to do any more
stripping. The Grizzlies are far enough under the luxury tax that they're willing to utilize at least part of their $7.5 million trade exception to add some perimeter help. Acquiring SG Courtney Lee, who Boston would consider flipping for some frontline help, was discussed but the Celtics aren't looking just to drop salary but add size. That, of course, is if they continue their current run since Rajon Rondo went down; the winning streak apparently has GM Danny Ainge feeling an obligation to KG and Paul Pierce to give them whatever he can to take one more shot rather than move one of his veterans and begin rebuilding.
Interesting that Lee is a potential piece being dangled to acquire a big, I've loved how he has played recently after a rough start in Boston (9.2 points, 2.4 boards, 1.8 assists, 1.2 steals, 47/36/94 shooting splits over the past 27 games, only 5.7 points, 2.2 boards, 1.8 dimes, 1.0 steals, 45/29/74 over the first 22 games), and think he's someone worth keeping around without Rondo in the mix.
With that said the biggest takeaway from Bucher's "sources" is that Ainge feels an obligation to Pierce and Garnett to make a run. It's been hotly debated around these parts whether the C's have the horses for a run after losing Rondo, and it's certainly still an open debate whether they can take down Miami in a seven game series without #9. With that said, this is a result based business, and right now - the results are fantastic. I have not yet confirmed whether the roof actually blew off the Garden last night, but if not, it was close. The Celtics have come alive, and while they certainly still have a lot of questions to answer (the upcoming road trip out West will answer some), is it really possible to break up a team that's starting to hit it's peak? I don't think so. And apparently neither does Ainge.
Now the question becomes, who can the Celtics acquire to help KG down low? And what do the C's give up in a deal? If Memphis is really the team, I'd have to imagine it's one of either Darrell Arthur or Ed Davis considering Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol's importance to that team. As for other options on other teams, just a few that popped into my head - Jason Maxiell of the Pistons (signed for 1 more year, $5 million), Chris Kaman of the Mavs (contract expires at the end of the season) and Brendan Haywood of the Bobcats (signed for 2 more years, $3.8 million total). No rumors surrounding those guys but all three have relatively small financial commitments, provide the Celtics with depth, and play for teams currently out of the playoff race.
There's still 13 days until the deadline, plenty of time for dozens of new trade rumors to pop up, but if Ainge is really serious about giving the team a chance at making a run, perhaps we can finally put the 'MEGA-DEAL' rumors to bed. Until the Celtics lose a game (kidding).
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