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BOSTON (CBS) – For all the rumors the Boston Celtics have been mentioned in this season, the 48 hours prior to the NBA trade deadline have been pretty quiet.
And it will likely remain that way, according to SI’s Chris Mannix. The Celtics have been both buyers and sellers this trade season, but which side is Danny Ainge swaying toward with the deadline just hours away?
“Neither at this point,” Mannix told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Damon Amendolara Wednesday night. ”They’ve been open for business as far as the availability of Big Three. If there was a deal that would have brought back young player and first round pick it would have been done by now.
“Those deals simply haven’t materialized,” said Mannix, who thinks the Celtics could make a smaller move for a center. “Boston is looking at a couple of big men out there. I wouldn’t be surprised if they inquired about Nazr Mohammed in Oklahoma City. I think he could be a pretty good help to Boston if they could find a way to pry him loose.”
What the Celtics shouldn’t do is blow it up, says Mannix. They are in good shape with Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce, and use the cap space that will come with the expiring contracts of Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett in the offseason. With two first-round draft picks and Rondo and Pierce, Boston is in better shape than others trying to rebuild.
Especially with Rondo leading the way.
“I don’t really understand the constant criticism of Rondo. To me he’s a top five point guard playing on a manageable contract,” said Mannix. ”Yes, he butts heads sometimes with the coaching staff but show me a great player in history that hasn’t done that. I think having Rondo, having Pierce, having two first-round picks, having a whole bunch of cap space; there are teams that would drool over what Boston has to rebuild with.”
“Right now, it’s going to be incumbant on Danny not to pull the trigger in a deal that eats into that cap space, and really work hard in the next couple months of identifying top talents in the draft and drafting them appropriately.”
Plus, how far does Mannix think the Celtics can go in the playoffs this year? And what is the latest news on Orlando’s Dwight Howard? Will he be with the Magic come Thursday afternoon?