Tuesday, February 16, 2010
By Chris Forsberg
With Thursday's trade deadline rapidly approaching, Boston's trio of All-Stars were peppered with questions about the potential moves the Celtics and their rivals might make for the stretch run during media availabilities at All-Star weekend.
Pierce admitted its impossible to escape the rumors, particularly when they swirl about teammates, but noted there's little he can do other than try to make the Celtics the best team possible on the court.
"You read about it, it's in front of us everyday," Pierce said after Sunday's All-Star Game. "But all we can work on is improving ourselves."
When a reporter asked about Cleveland's rumored interest in Western Conference starting center Amare Stoudemire, Pierce suggested no one was going to pack it in just because a rival makes a big-splash move, and reaffirmed his love of this year's Celtics team.
"We're all trying to position ourselves to win a championship," said Pierce. "If Amare goes there, he goes there. We still gotta go out and play. Obviously, that would improve their team, but we feel that, with the team we've got, we can beat anyone in the NBA."
Earlier, Pierce was asked if Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge ever consults him on potential deals or available players to gauge whether they'd be a good fit for the Celtics.
"He has in the past, but, lately, Danny hasn't really talked about it," said Pierce. "I think he likes our team. He knows we can turn this around.
"I stick to my place. I don't worry about [trades]. Danny makes those decisions. He's done a great job of building this team."
Here's a handful of trade links as the clock ticks towards Thursday's deadline:
* ESPN's Chad Ford (Insider) suggests the Celtics are among the buyers this trade season, and one GM suggests the team might be "getting desperate."
To quote one general manager who spoke with Ainge in the past 48 hours, "I get the feeling Boston's getting desperate."
With the Celtics looking more like an NBA Legends team than a serious title contender at the moment, Ainge has a difficult decision to make.
If he believes that a tweak of the roster will put the Celtics into contention, then Ainge has a number of smaller contracts he could use to land a player.
If Ainge believes a bigger change is in order, now is the time to make a move. If he doesn't trade Allen now, his hands could be tied until the summer of 2012, unless he wants to consider trading Paul Pierce (whose contract expires in 2011) or Kevin Garnett (whose contract expires in 2012) at some point.
What could Ainge get for Allen? The Celtics have looked into the possibility of acquiring Andre Iguodala, Kirk Hinrich, Kevin Martin or Monta Ellis. Each would be expensive over the long haul, and it's not clear that Boston has what it takes to get Iguodala, Martin or Ellis. Given that, Hinrich, the least expensive of the four, might be Ainge's best bet, but he's also the oldest and least desirable of the foursome.
* The Lakers are reportedly showing interest in Chicago's Kirk Hinrich given Los Angeles' inability to slow opposing point guards. With some suggesting Boston's interest in Hinrich, it could be a Lakers vs. Celtics doubleheader Thursday (first in trade pursuits, then on the court).
* As for Cleveland's desire for Stoudemire, sources suggest another Eastern Conference foe -- the Miami Heat -- might be upping their pursuit of the All-Star center.
* We'll tackle more of your trade questions and offer some opinion on all things trade related in this week's Celtics Mailbag. Get your questions in now, then look for 'bag Wednesday afternoon.