Celtics Stand Pat At Deadline, Will Look Toward Summer For Big Moves
The NBA's trade deadline has come and gone and, surprisingly, the Boston Celtics refrained not only from making any major moves but from making any moves at all, despite previous belief around the league.
With the Celtics putting together a strong first half of the season and entering the NBA's All-Star break in control of third place in the weak Eastern Conference, the thought around the league was that Boston's president of basketball operations, Danny Ainge, would use his stable of young controllable players and seemingly unlimited draft picks to make a move that would cement the club as serious contenders for a conference title.
As the deadline neared, the media began throwing around a multitude of names, including Atlanta big man Al Horford, Houston center Dwight Howard and even Cleveland forward Kevin Love, as potential trade targets to add to the youthful Celtics roster.
While reports surfaced as late as this morning that the C's had gone in heavy asking the Cavaliers to put together a deal for Love and that the club was considered one of the front runners to land Horford, had the Hawks decided to part with the soon-to-be free agent, neither neither deal materialized.
So now, the C's must work with what they've got, which in the Eastern Conference is a group of players that gives them a very good shot to contend. No deadline move also means that Boston must wait until the off-season to upgrade their roster, primarily through the draft and free agency.
While some fans might be frustrated by Ainge's inability to strike a deal that he thought was beneficial to the team, here's something to think about. Horford, who by all accounts is a high character guy and solid player that the Celtics like, is going to hit free agency at the end of the season. So if the C's pulled off a deal and sent one of their top picks or a quality player that could have otherwise stuck with the club for the time being, which is something they reportedly didn't want to do to acquire the All-Star center anyways, they still could have lost him to a big money deal in the off-season.
Now, the Celtics can still pursue Horford, if the money is right, in a few months without having to give up a piece that could yield them a potential superstar in the upcoming draft. So good move for Ainge there.
It's still unclear how things will shake out the rest of the way and you never fully know how things will work in the lottery, but the C's pick that they will receive from the Nets this year should be a top seven pick at worst.
With that being said, Boston could almost certainly find a high quality college player that can fill some of their voids with that selection, which is just another indication why the team didn't want to part with that pick for a Love or a Horford. There was some talk about the C's mortgaging the pick for a guy like Blake Griffin, but talks with the Los Angeles Clippers never really got off the ground.
All in all, Celtics fans will have to remain happy with what they've got for now. In all honesty, though, what they have is pretty good and has a chance to take them far into the postseason this year. By the off-season the C's will, barring something tragic, upgrade the roster and everyone can set their sights on the 2016-2017 season as one where the Celtics take a real serious swing at Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.