Ranking the top 5 most likely Celtics trade scenarios before the deadline

There have been a ton of trade scenarios buzzing around the NBA leading up to Thursday's Trade Deadline. It seems like whenever a player is said to be on the trading block, the media immediately points to Boston as a potential suitor. This is because Danny Ainge and his front office have positioned themselves to make moves with the plethora of upcoming draft picks, his team's current conference standing and appearance of being "a piece or two away", and the expiring contract of David Lee which allows a financial match in any sort of blockbuster exchange.

Some of these rumors are just that, rumors, and need to be taken with a grain of salt. Superstar names have been thrown around like James Harden, Blake Griffin, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love, and even Kevin Durant. Their respective teams have vehemently denied all of these reports and while those names certainly make a juicy headline, these franchise players realistically aren't going anywhere. So here is a list ranking the most likely trade scenarios for the Celtics prior to Feb. 18th's 3:00PM EST deadline.

 5. Harrison Barnes

As CSN's A. Sherrod Blakely reported earlier today, Harrison Barnes is a potential player the Warriors could be looking to shop. At first glance, it makes no sense. Why would the best team in the NBA be looking to shake things up? But Harrison Barnes is a restricted free agent next season, and will probably be looking to cash in. Depending on the deal, the Warriors may not have the cap flexibility to match and could risk letting Barnes walk for nothing. Golden State is not only in a position to win this season, but have the potential to build a dynasty. They aren't a team that necessarily needs to go all in and may feel confident enough that they have the depth to win this season, even without Barnes, and still build towards the future.

Possible Deal:

BOS receives: Harrison Barnes

GST receives: James Young, Tyler Zeller, Dallas's 2016 first round pick (top 7 protected)

4. Dwight Howard

It's no secret that the Rockets have been on the phone looking to move their "Center of Attention". His preferable style of play of slowing it down and playing through himself in the post clashes with James Harden's space the floor, "run and gun" method. Howard's contract has him earning $22 million through this season, with a player option of $23 million next season. The Rockets know that Howard and Harden aren't going to magically figure things out in what is turning out to be a very disappointing season, and that Howard is going to look elsewhere this summer to somewhere like his hometown of Atlanta or even reuniting with his first team in Orlando. Ainge is smart and is not about to trade away all the assets he's worked to obtain for a guy like Howard, who could easily walk this summer. The only way this deal goes down is if the Rockets realize Howard's value isn't what is used to be.

Possible Deal:

BOS receives: Dwight Howard, Montrezl Harrell

HOU receives: David Lee, Jonas Jerebko, Dallas's 2016 first round pick (top 7 protected)

3. No moves 

There are a lot of Celtics fans who would prefer this option given the team's recent play. It's tough to argue. They beat Cleveland on the road and finished the first half of the season with a big OT win over the Clippers. The C's have also won 10 of their last 12 games. While it has been a optimistic stretch, this team is currently not built to win an NBA Championship. More importantly, Boston has more picks in the 2016 draft than they can handle. If they were to keep them all, it may suit them well to build their own European franchise. Lyon Luckys? (I'll keep working on that) The fact remains they need to shed these picks one way or another before they go to waste. Their only other option may be to trade the draft picks back for future draft picks, but eventually they could run into the same issue. But as the saying goes, sometimes the best trades are the ones you don't make.

2. Al Horford

Atlanta has also made it clear that Al Horford is on the trading block. The Hawks center seems like he would be a pretty seamless fit for Brad Stevens offense. He spaces the floor with his mid range shot and is an above average defender. He also appears to be a good "locker room" guy. Many feel it was Horford who Isaiah Thomas alluded to when he mentioned there was an unnamed all-star who approached him in Toronto and asked about Boston. You could make an argument it was Demarcus Cousins, who has a friendship with Thomas since their days together in Sacramento. Regardless, Horford is a star player who the Celtics could feel confident in adding to the team without risking a disruption in chemistry.

Possible Deal:

BOS receives: Al Horford

ATL receives: Amir Johnson, RJ Hunter, future Boston first round pick

1. Danny only knows

And finally, the Celtics most likely trade deadline scenario is something no reporter knows of yet. Danny Ainge has a history of making these type of deals that appear to come out of nowhere. Most recently, nobody predicted Isaiah Thomas going to the C's at the 2015 deadline. It's very possible Ainge has some sort of multi-team trade brewing that could shake up the association with all the assets at his disposal. While it may not be considered "breaking news" at the moment, I expect Ainge to make a deal at the deadline that shocks everybody. For better or worse.

Photo Credit: Boston Herald

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