Danny Ainge, the DPE, All-Star Weekend, trade deadline - timing is important
When a disabled player exception (DPE) is granted, most NBA teams never use it. They let it expire. I doubt Danny Ainge would do that. I believe he will use it, even if he ends up signing the hotshot from the local YMCA. And nothing within the bounds of the NBA rules is out of the question for Danny. Even idle or retired players in their late 30's and early 40's. More on that in a minute or two.
The NBA All-Star game used to be a forum for trade discussions because it was scheduled prior to the trade deadline. The idea that an All-Star could conceivably get traded halfway through a Euro-step and find out about it when he returned to the bench spawned the change. The trade deadline is now set for 3:00 PM (ET) on February 8, 2018. All-Star festivities happen a bit more than a week later.
At the All-Star game in 2008, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen talked P. J. Brown into joining the Celtics team. He was 38 years old and had been idle for the first part of the season. He helped bring Boston the 2008 NBA Championship. Danny Ainge tried to convince 41-year-old Reggie Miller to join the team prior to the 2017-18 season. Reggie seriously considered the offer but finally turned it down. Is Paul Pierce keeping in shape?
This is the way I see the timeline. There are players that teams want to trade and players that want to be traded. If deals are not done by the deadline, February 8, these players may be bought out or simply waived. Now on to the All-Star weekend.
This is the time for Ainge do his thing. In case anyone missed it, he is very good at this. Trades are now out of the question, but teams may have players that don't fit the teams plans, culture or payroll. A move from a struggling team to a Championship contender is mighty appealing. After discussions at All-Star weekend, there is a 3-week window to have something solidified before the DPE expires.
If this route fails, we are down to retired players (David Lee, Matt Barnes) or present free agents. Andrew Bogut is still available and the Milwaukee Bucks seem to have interest. The G-League could be an answer. Anthony Bennett certainly isn't ready.
With Ainge, the chance of a trade, either major or minor, is always there, but it needs to be completed by February 8 at 3:00 PM (ET). Danny's trade-before-fade policy (read Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett) doesn't come into play since there are no older, fading players on the roster. With Danny, it means a bargain or nothing at all. The clock it ticking.