BOSTON (CBS) — The NBA draft is just a day away, and as they have been for the last few months, rumors are swirling around the Boston Celtics.
The Kevin Love trade is still in the back of people’s minds, but a new blockbuster has surfaced. Unfortunately this one doesn’t have the Celtics getting better in the near future, but rather trading away their captain.
The Sacramento Kings and Detroit Pistons are talking about a trade for Josh Smith, and if the Kings can complete the swap, many believe they’ll try to land Smith’s buddy, Rajon Rondo.
CSNNE’s Tim Welsh joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich on Wednesday to sort out all the rumors, and said Danny Ainge will explore every option come draft night.
“If Boston cannot do the deal with Minnesota, then I think all bets are off and everything is on the table,” said Welsh. “Danny will keep pointing towards the long-term future, and he has the support of the ownership. Maybe that means they deal Rondo, because he knows Rondo will open himself up to the free agent market next year, and if he can get something for him now he wont be gambling on the long-term future with Rondo.
“I could see that happening,” said Welsh. “Trader Danny will be at his his best tomorrow night.”
Welsh said that Boston still has a strong package to offer the T-Wolves for Love, but with Flip Sauders now manning the bench he may try to convince Love to stick around as he rebuilds the team.
There’s also a rumor that the Celtics have called the Cleveland Cavaliers about the top overall pick on Thursday night. The Cavs have the first pick for the second straight year, and have been listening to offers ever since Joel Embiid underwent foot surgery last week. But Welsh says that other teams have more to offer the Cavs than the Celtics, and there is a good chance Cleveland keeps the pick and drafts Andrew Wiggins.
“They’re going to have to give up a lot, because the Cavaliers want to [remain in the Top 3],” said Welsh. “I’m not sure they want to go all the way to six, unless the Celtics package future picks and players, maybe in a three-way deal. I do know Philadelphia wants that number one pick, because they’re nervous that Cleveland wants Wiggins. Philadelphia really wants Wiggins, and they know Cleveland will probably take him [with the top pick].
“Danny is going to try to put everything on the table to get to that spot, and if he can I think you’d see Andrew Wiggins here in a second. But right now it looks like there are other suitors ahead of the Celtics for that pick,” said Welsh.
So with the Celtics likely sticking at sixth overall, who will they take? Welsh says Embiid, even with the recent foot surgery, has too much upside for a team like Boston to pass up.
“A lot of teams in front of the Celtics have other options that are more secure at this time,” said Welsh. “They have been in a losing-mode; the Celtics have had one off-year, but Milwaukee has been losing for a while. Cleveland, we know their story. Philadelphia has been down, along with Orlando and Utah. They all want win-now players, and I don’t think they can afford to gamble on Embiid, who could miss the entire season next year.
“I think they’ll have that opportunity at number six. I think they’ll take him if he’s there,” he said of Embiid.
Who could Boston take with the 17th overall pick? And what does the future hold for restricted free agent Avery Bradley? Welsh covers it all with Toucher & Rich: