Is Hawks Marco Belinelli a back-up plan for Celtics?
As I write this the NBA trade deadline is 34 hours away. The Atlanta Hawks are tied with the Dallas Mavericks for the worst record in the league at 17/37 and have no reason to retain Marco Belinelli. They have notified Marco that he is on the trading block and will be sifting through offers.
The Hawks have informed veteran sharpshooter Marco Belinelli that he is on course to be traded by Thursday's 3 p.m. deadline, league sources say. Atlanta said to still be weighing its options in terms of exactly where it will send him with multiple teams interested
The 6'5" Belinelli is approaching his 32nd birthday and is a known sharpshooter. This season he averages 23.3 MPG, 11.4 PPG, 1.9 RPG and 2.0 APG. For his career he has shot .423 on field goals, .377 on threes and .840 from the line. He earns roughly $6.6 million in this last year of his contract and will be an UFA at the close of this season. Here is CelticsWire.USA Today's Jared Weiss on the subject:
Atlanta Hawks sharp shooter Marco Belinelli is being held out by the Atlanta Hawks as trade talks are ongoing. The Boston Celtics may target Belinelli either by trade or in the buyout market if a deal falls through.
Boston Celtics potential target Marco Belinelli is being held out by the Atlanta Hawks ahead of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, reports Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Cunningham reports that the Hawks are currently holding trade talks on Belinelli, so pulling him now indicates these talks are generating serious momentum.
I only envision Marco as a back-up plan for Danny Ainge. A straight-up Marcus Smart-for-Marco Belinelli works on ESPN's Trade Machine, but it makes sense for neither team. Atlanta's main focus here is to just plain tank since several other teams are also vying for the worst record in the League, and therefore a high-lottery pick. A buyout of Belinelli's contract and a signing by Boston prior to March 1st at the vet minimum may be a back-up option. There will be other buyouts coming, and I believe that, barring a bargain-basement deal for Boston in the next 34 hours, Danny will hold back and see what develops in the next three weeks.
Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC
Photo via Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America
Video via DownToBuck