One team that seems to be looking at every possible direction for a trade that will improve them are the Boston Celtics, who are also trying to see what price the Atlanta Hawks are asking for when it comes to Jeff Teague or even Al Horford.
The Hawks have been unable to recreate the magic of last season, be it because DeMarre Carroll is gone or simply because it was something of a weird combination of events that led them to finish first in the East during the regular season. They were brought down to natural size by getting swept in the conference finals by the Cleveland Cavaliers, and losing five games in their last six gives a stronger and stronger feeling that they’re about to start looking for ways to change this team drastically. We’re not talking about blowing it up and a complete rebuild, but no player on the Hawks is untouchable. It all depends on what’s the price.
The Celtics have plenty of draft picks and some players they might be interested in moving. It all depends on who they’re going after. While Teague has been the hot name on the trading block, he doesn’t make as much sense for the Celtics, even if he’s on a very good contract that pays him $8 million next season too. Teague might be struggling this season while the Hawks want to push Dennis Schroeder into the lineup, but he’s still averaging 14.5 points and 5.5 assists per game while shooting 38.2% from beyond the arc. The Celtics have Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart at point guard, so Teague makes less sense than Horford.
Horford is better than anything the Celtics have in the frontcourt, and can play as both a center and power forward. With David Lee probably looking to move and the Celtics hoping to get rid of him (on an expiring deal worth $15 million) maybe there’s something in that angle along with some cushy draft picks. However, Horford, making $12 million this season, becomes a free agent at the end of this one, and will probably be looking for around $20 million a season as there are new rules with the salary cap increasing. He’s averaging 15.2 points and 7 rebounds per game, with his production per minute consistently dropping over the last three seasons.
The Celtics have assets and would like to be aggressive in this trade deadline approaching period, but as Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks said, there isn’t that much out there to be had. The expiring contract isn’t such an asset these days and losing draft picks for a player who will bolt doesn’t seem like something most teams would like to do. With both teams (in this case) more afraid of losing out on the deal than trying to find out what they can gain, rumors will remain as such, unmaterialized. Maybe the ease in which the Golden State Warriors are dominating the West, and the relative ease in which the Cavaliers are cruising through the East, is making teams hold on to their players and wait for the hectic offseason we might be having.