Eastern Rumors: Celtics, Knicks, Payton, Knox, Bulls

The Celtics appear to be in the market for an in-season upgrade to their roster, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, who says he received “a flurry of texts” on Saturday night from executives around the league who suggested that Boston appeared to be up to something.

The Celtics haven’t completed any moves in the couple days since then, so there’s no indication at this point that anything is imminent — the team could wait until closer to the March 25 trade deadline to attempt to finalize a move. O’Connor notes that league sources have long stated that the C’s are looking to bolster their wing and frontcourt rotations.

Discussing the Celtics’ massive trade exception during a radio appearance last week, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge suggested the club’s top priority on the trade market will be “shooting with size.”

Here’s more from around the East:

  • The Knicks aren’t done exploring trade options after acquiring Derrick Rose from Detroit, says Ian Begley of SNY.tv (video link). According to Begley, at least one team in playoff contention has shown some interest in Elfrid Payton. Additionally, while New York didn’t want to move Kevin Knox in the Rose deal, that doesn’t mean that he’s untouchable “by any stretch of the imagination,” per Begley.
  • As long as the Bulls continue playing sub-.500 ball, Zach LaVine – whose contract expires in 2022 – will be the subject of trade rumors. However, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago argues that LaVine, whose scoring average this season is up to a career-high 27.4 PPG, continues to improve and that the team should seriously consider pursuing a contract extension for the standout guard in the offseason.
  • With multiple reports indicating that the Bulls could be a landing spot for Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball, Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype explains why a trade sending him to Chicago would make sense for both Ball and the Bulls.
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