The Celtics are eager to make a deal, but other teams simply are not looking to swap top players for prospects and draft picks, A. Sherrod Blakely of Comcast Sportsnet writes. “You win with players, not picks,” an anonymous assistant GM told Blakely. “Boston has lots of picks and some good players. But there’s not a great player on that roster. And the players you [media] guys keep writing and talking about that they’re interested in, are great players. [Danny Ainge] will tell you, it’s not easy making trades. And when it comes to great players, it’s even harder to acquire them no matter how many picks you offer up.”
Here’s more from Boston:
- The consensus around the league is that if the Celtics can make a big deal, it will be for Jahlil Okafor, as Blakely passes along in the same piece. “From the moment Philly drafted Ben [Simmons], everyone around the league knew that they would have to trade a big, either Okafor or Nerlens [Noel],” an NBA scout told Blakely. “Okafor is the better scorer; it’s not even close really. But Nerlens has that ability to run the floor and can protect the rim. Those two qualities . . . you can’t have enough guys in the frontcourt who call those two skills, strengths. That’s why Okafor is the more expendable player.”
- Another executive told Blakely that Ainge is waiting for an opportunity to snag a player whom no one thought would be available. “I have no idea who that big fish is,” the executive said. “But Danny knows there have to be certain circumstances in play that make guys available who wouldn’t be if you just went by talent. That’s how they got Ray Allen. That’s how they got KG (Kevin Garnett). Even Isaiah Thomas a couple years ago was about circumstance more than anything else. He’s looking for something like that now.”
- While the Celtics are looking to acquire another star via trade, Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com wonders if the next prime-time player is already on the roster. Forsberg makes the argument that Marcus Smart will elevate his game to an All-Star level next season and the scribe expects Smart to take on much of Evan Turner‘s previous role now that the Ohio State product has signed with Portland.