The Celtics remain the most likely team to make a splash before the deadline, writes Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. The abundance of draft picks and valuable supplementary assets put them in a unique position to either get a deal done directly or facilitate one for others.
“I don’t think any move of significance gets done before the deadline without [Celtics general manager] Danny Ainge being given the chance to put his fingerprints on it,” one executive tells Bulpett.
The Celtics, of course, have been featured in trade speculation all season and are one of the possible destinations that Carmelo Anthony would supposedly consider waiving his no-trade clause for. Sources around the league, Bulpett writes, say that Ainge is “patrolling the marketplace in hopes that a player worthy of some of the assets he has accumulated becomes available.”
There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:
- Fifth-year big man Jonas Valanciunas isn’t a good fit in Toronto, writes Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun. Valanciunas’ defensive deficiencies — and Lucas Nogueira‘s lack of strength — make Bismack Biyombo‘s absence this season all the more noticeable during Raptors games. Still, Wolstat argues, while it’s hard to put a value on talented big men like Valanciunas, you can’t just give them away without getting something substantial in return.
- When Jared Sullinger went to the D-League for a rehab start over the weekend, he did so of his own volition, writes Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun. “I thought it was great,” Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said. “You can’t force him to go. He decided to go. He wanted to go. It was a great step.”
- The steady growth of Avery Bradley has been invaluable for the Celtics, writes Steve Bulpett in a separate story for the Boston Herald. “Isaiah’s having a spectacular year, and I think that’s a little bit overshadowed how great of a year Avery’s having,” said president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. “[…] Listen, he is our best defensive player, and he’s our second-best offensive player. And that’s a rare combination for a player.” Bradley has been out of action since January 16 but is expected to return this week.
- The Knicks have struggled this season but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Derek Fisher was the better head coach. The former New York bench boss recently slammed current Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek in a Lakers broadcast where he now serves as an analyst. “There’s enough analysts and reporters who like to talk about: coulda, shoulda [in] what they did,” Hornacek told Marc Berman of the New York Post. “We don’t pay much attention to it. I think he’s also trying to push himself in a light that maybe someone else will give him a job.”