ESPN Insider: Celtics trade-deadline buyers, DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, Hassan Whiteside potential targets

Get the band back together?

Bradford Doolittle of ESPN is in the process of publishing a list of trade targets for all 30 NBA teams.  His piece on the Celtics hit the web this morning.  Doolittle says the C's are "perfectly positioned as buyers" as the trade deadline approaches.  He lists three candidates as possible targets: DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and Hassan Whiteside.

We've already talked Cousins to death, so I'm not going to get into that.

Whiteside is an impending free agent who's only making $980,000 this year.  He'll get a big payday this summer.  If Danny Ainge wants to pursue Whiteside, I doubt he'd give up assets for him now as apposed to trying to sign him in the offseason.  Plus, the Heat are within a game-and-a-half of the No. 2 seed in the East.  Unless things go south for them quickly, why would they want to break their club up?

Gay is somewhat intriguing.  He's under contract for two more years (with a player option for 2017-18) at roughly $14 million per.  I like the idea of him at power forward in a small-ball lineup, but is he really a clear upgrade over what Boston has now?  Gay might just add to the clutter and roster confusion that has plagued the C's all year.

Doolittle also ranks the top seven Celtics by trade value in this order:

1. Marcus Smart
2. Kelly Olynyk
3. Isaiah Thomas
4. Jae Crowder
5. Jonas Jerebko
6. RJ Hunter
7. Amir Johnson

It's a stark contrast to what Max Sandgrund posted on CelticsLife yesterday.  As far as which Celtic is most likely to be dealt, Doolittle claims Evan Turner's "versatility might have value on a team with such a need. His deal is expiring, so you'd expect a similarly expiring deal in return."

I doubt Ainge could actually make a trade for a similarly-priced ($3.4 million) expiring contract that'd be a better fit with this year's team than Turner, but there's no risk in giving it a shot.

Follow Mark Vandeusen on Twitter @LucidSportsFan