The Celtics have a $28.5MM trade exception but in order to acquire an impact player, they’ll also likely have to part with draft picks, Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe opines. Boston GM Danny Ainge has admitted he doesn’t feel the team as presently constituted is championship-caliber, and potential trade partners will demand multiple picks to part with a player that the Celtics covet.
We have more from the Eastern Conference:
- The Cavaliers are paying the price for injuries and other issues, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. They’re on a 10-game losing streak with Andre Drummond in limbo and three other frontcourt players — Kevin Love, Larry Nance Jr. and Taurean Prince — out with injuries. Their reserve corps has been rendered ineffective. “Nobody is coming to bail us out. Nobody is coming to rescue us,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said.
- Knicks executive Scott Perry has played an underrated role in building a more competitive team, Steve Popper of Newsday points out. He was instrumental in bringing in Julius Randle and some other veterans that have put them in playoff contention. The front office now has the assets to make a major deal, Popper adds.
- It’s possible that Otto Porter Jr. (back) and Lauri Markkanen (right shoulder sprain) could return from their injuries prior to the All-Star break, but Bulls coach Billy Donovan doesn’t sound overly optimistic, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun Times. “I think as this week unfolds and we get closer to the All-Star break, we’ll certainly have to look at OP because he hasn’t been able to do a lot of cardio stuff,’’ Donovan said. “I don’t know if either of those guys will be back before the All-Star Break or not. … I’d imagine both of those guys have been really, really diligent about working out and trying to take care of themselves, and doing what they can to keep their conditioning up.’’