BOSTON (CBS) – Much of the talk centering on the 2014 NBA trade deadline and the Boston Celtics has been focused upon which players should be dealt from Boston’s roster. Should the team build around or deal Rajon Rondo? Is Brandon Bass worth keeping? Will anyone take on Jeff Green’s contract?

Perhaps just as important as any of these questions though is just who Danny Ainge should target in any trades for his rebuilding squad. Boston’s ownership and front office has made it fairly apparent they would prefer a quick turnaround for this team if at all possible, and that starts with Thursday’s trade deadline. The team will be looking to stockpile draft picks if possible, but they should also try to bring in some young talent to bolster the roster for the future.

Robb: C’s Ownership Willing To Pay Luxury Tax This Season For Right Trade

With that in mind, here are five players the Celtics should attempt to acquire heading into the trade deadline:

Harrison Barnes
Salary: $2.9 million
Signed Through: 2015-16 season

Barnes has been on the Celtics’ radar ever since last season, when Ainge was trying to get the Warriors to bite on dealing the small forward in a package for Paul Pierce. The 21-year-old out of UNC showed off plenty of skills during the Warriors’ postseason run last year and has the tools and athleticism to be a strong supporting piece for the future. Currently, Golden State has plenty of depth at the wing spot and could be looking to add some draft picks as well as players that could help their frontcourt for a playoff run. Boston has plenty of both, picks and players to offer, making the two sides a potential match.

Gordon Hayward
Salary: $3.4 million
Signed Through: 2013-14 season

Brad Stevens is very familiar with the former Butler Bulldog who helped lead his college team to two national championship games. In the NBA, Hayward has performed well for a rebuilding Jazz squad, but he’s also due a big-time raise this summer when he’s a free agent. Will the small-market Jazz be willing to spend big bucks on Hayward? If they don’t like his asking price they could attempt to deal him now so they don’t risk losing him for nothing this offseason. If so, the Celtics could swoop in with a package of picks and other assets to acquire Hayward and give him the contract he wants in free agency.

Gerald Henderson
Salary: $6 million
Signed Through: 2015-16 season

After signing a three-year extension with the Bobcats last summer, Henderson has had a taken a small step back this year, shooting 42.3 percent from the field and 31.3 percent from 3-point range, both down from last season. He remains a versatile asset on both sides of the ball though, and will earn a very reasonable $6 million each year through the next two seasons. If the Bobcats want to upgrade with a more explosive scorer like Jeff Green at small forward, the Celtics would be best served to try to add some additional assets to pry Henderson away from the Bobcats in a deal.

Read: Who Could Get Dealt?

Dion Waiters
Salary: $3.9 million
Signed Through: 2015-16 season

Zach Lowe of first floated Waiters’ name as a potential Celtics’ trade target last week. Waiters is a big-time buy-low candidate, a top-5 pick that reportedly has an attitude problem, while also being an inconsistent offensive contributor. The Celtics can afford to gamble on a guy like Waiters turning it around after a change of scenery, since they have the patience to wait for him to develop, as well as a coach in Stevens who has a track record of getting the most out of his young players. The Cavs have turned it around in recent weeks, which may make it tougher to convince them to part with Waiters, but the Celtics should consider sacrificing a late first round pick for the former Syracuse star.

Larry Sanders
Salary: $3.0 million this season, $11 million next season
Signed Through: 2017-18 season

Sanders would be the ultimate risk-reward scenario for the Celtics. After earning himself a long-term contract from Milwaukee last year, his stock has plummeted this season. His season has been marred by a bar fight, injuries, and overall lackluster play. The Bucks are probably feeling a bit of buyer’s remorse after committing a significant portion of their payroll to him for the next four seasons. If you look past the flaws though, Sanders can be a defensive anchor for most squads, something the Celtics’ desperately need to advance to the next stage of their rebuild. If the Bucks make Sanders available, the Celtics should try to land him.

Brian Robb covers the Celtics for CBS Boston and contributes to, among other media outlets. You can follow him on Twitter @CelticsHub.


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