There continues to be a lot of trade talk but little action, even with the sword of Damocles that is Thursday’s 3 p.m. NBA deadline perched overhead.
By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
3:00 p.m.: Pencils down everyone. We’ve hit the NBA trade deadline.
The Celtics stood pat, not wanting to fork over a first-round pick for Memphis’ Tyreke Evans. Things can still roll in after the deadline, as teams finalize trades and submit them to the league, but it looks like the C’s are on to the buyout market.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are the big winners of the day, snagging Rodney Hood, George Hill, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. in two separate deals. They also shed Isaiah Thomas (Lakers) and Jae Crowder (Jazz), leaving them with the Brooklyn pick and Ante Zizic from their blockbuster Kyrie Irving swap with Boston over the summer.
Now the Cavs have two months (including the All-Star break) to make things work with their new-look team. But it can’t be worse than what they trotted out to start the season, and it appears they’ve not only emerged as the winners of deadline day, but as a legit contender in the East once again.
The Celtics didn’t overreact to Cleveland’s trading bonanza, and will now shift their attention to the buyout market. Joe Johnson is expected to be bought out by the Kings, and the C’s will be in on what is expected to be a “bidding war” for the guard’s services. Johnson would certainly fill their need as a scorer off the bench, so we’ll see if Ainge can get it done.
We should also get our first look at the newest Celtics player later tonight, as Greg Monroe will likely make his Boston debut when the C’s take on the Washington Wizards.
Now we can all relax, take a deep breath and get ready for the stretch run of the season.
2:54 p.m.: The Phoenix Suns needed a point guard, and they just got one from Orlando.
Not sure how Payton’s hair will mix with the heat in Phoenix.
And if Orlando only got a second-round pick for Payton, who is heading to restricted free agency and was a lottery pick in 2014, there is no way Memphis gets a first for Tyreke Evans.
2:51 p.m.: Less than 10 minutes to go, and this is all we’ve got.
Get ready for the buyout market, Celtics fans.
2:45 p.m.: 15 minutes to go, and nothing to report on the Celtics front.
This is when Ainge is at his most dangerous.
2:30 p.m.: If you’re already wondering who the Celtics may target on the buyout market, it appears they’ll be interested in Joe Johnson once he’s waived by the Kings:
What a “homecoming” that would be. Johnson was drafted 10th overall by the Celtics in 2001, but was traded to the Phoenix Suns in February 2002 for Rodney Rogers and Tony Delk.
The Celtics were interested in Johnson on the buyout market two years ago, but he decided to go with the Miami Heat.
2:20 p.m.: The Celtics are either playing a game of chicken with the Grizzlies, or they are going to wait to see what’s available on the buyout market:
Meanwhile, Haverhill’s own Noah Vonleh is on the move again. This will be his third team in four NBA seasons.
2:12 p.m.: If the Celtics want Tyreke Evans, they’re going to have to fork over a first-round pick.
2:08 p.m.: The Nuggets have made a deal:
Not a bad deal for the Knicks.
It appears the Nuggets, who were in the running for Tyreke Evans, are now done dealing
2:03 p.m.: With just under an hour to go until the deadline, it appears teams are getting out of their Cavalries-induced haze and are ready to wheel and deal.
We’ll see if any other Eastern Conference teams overreact to Cleveland’s trade spree and does something silly at the deadline.
Also, Kendrick Perkins may be free from the G League soon:
Maybe the biggest Cavaliers news of the day right there.
1:55 p.m.: If you were thinking that Isaiah Thomas might come off the bench for the Lakers when Lonzo Ball comes back, you’d be mistaken.
1:50 p.m.: Rose won’t be a free agent for long, it appears.
Joining the T-Wolves would reunite the former Rookie of the Year and MVP with his old Chicago head coach Tom Thibodeau.
1:40 p.m.: We’ve hit a bit of a lull after that trading spree by the Cavaliers. With Tyreke Evans still out there, things should ramp up again in the final hour.
While we wait, LeBron James has said his farewell to D-Wade on social media.
Also, Derrick Rose will be a free agent soon.
1:09 p.m.: The Cleveland rebuild continues. Dwyade Wade is heading home to Miami.
It was hard to see how Wade would fit with all those younger (better) players on the Cleveland roster after their trading spree. Now the 36-year-old gets to go back to his original franchise.
The Cavs just got reallllllllllllly interesting. They don’t play again until Friday night in Atlanta, and then come to Boston for an afternoon tilt against the Celtics.
1:01 p.m.: The Cavaliers are not messing around this deadline day, acquiring Utah Jazz scorer Rodney Hood.
It’s a three-team deal that also involved the Sacramento Kings, with former Celtics forward Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose heading to Utah. The Cavaliers also get George Hill from the Kings in the deal.
This is a big upgrade for Cleveland, with Hood averaging 16.8 points off the Jazz bench this season. They also get a nine-year veteran point guard in Hill. Bringing in four new players, solid players, is the kind of mid-season rebuild/shakeup the Cavaliers needed to re-enter the conversation in the Eastern Conference.
In dealing Crowder, the Cavaliers only have Ante Zizic and the 2018 Brooklyn pick remaining from their Kyrie Irving blockbuster with Boston.
Crowder is going to be a big hit in Utah. Weird that he’s now essentially changed places with Gordon Hayward.
12:55 p.m.: If the Celtics want to clear a roster spot, the New York Knicks would be interested in helping them out. All it would cost Danny Ainge is Boston’s “Dancing Bear.”
We’ve only seen Yabusele’s raw talent in glimpses, but chances are he’s not going to be the player Ainge jettisons if he needs to free up a roster spot.
12:06 p.m.: Sorry folks, no LeBron for Lonzo. But it appears Isaiah Thomas is on the move again.
What a year for Thomas. Now he can try to screw over Danny Ainge by winning games for the Lakers.
Things clearly weren’t working out in Cleveland, so it’s a fresh start for Isaiah in his quest for a max contract. The Cavaliers get a pretty solid point guard in Clarkson in return.
The Cavaliers’ first-round pick will reportedly carry protections as well.
11:58 a.m.: With just about three hours left until the deadline, something is brewing between the Lakers and Cavaliers.
Could Isaiah Thomas be heading to L.A.? What about LeBron? Maybe Magic Johnson will get hit with another fine for tampering?
This is likely nothing, but it’s a sliver of hope that something big may be in the works.
11:50 a.m.: We finally have some noise.
The Raptors are right there with the Celtics atop the Eastern Conference, and are never afraid to swing for the fences around deadline time. They added Serge Ibaka near the deadline last year, and putting Jordan next to him would give Toronto a pretty scary frontcourt.
Toronto big man Jonas Valanciunas would likely have to be part of any deal, but his multiyear contract probably doesn’t make sense for the rebuilding Clippers, hence the third team that Stein mentioned.
It also appears the Cavaliers would like to add Kemba Walker, but the Hornets aren’t just going to give him away.
11:30 a.m.: Celtics head coach Brad Stevens is a fan of having the trade deadline ahead of the All-Star break.
Imagine what Stevens can do with a new player after having a week to ponder all sorts of rotations and schemes.
11:09 a.m.: We have a deadline day trade!
Sorry, really didn’t need the exclamation point, on account of it being Jameer Nelson. Or should we say, former Celtics great Jameer Nelson.
Second-round picks could turn out to be the currency of the day.
The Pistons are filling in the blanks on their roster left by the Blake Griffin trade last week. This gives them a solid backup point guard, and reunites Stan Van Gundy with Nelson. He was Nelson’s coach on the Orlando Magic, a team that went to the NBA Finals back in 2009.
Detroit is currently percentage points behind Philadelphia for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, so they could be a potential first-round opponent of the Celtics.
10:50 a.m.: And the dance begins.
According to Woj, several teams are backing out of the trade market today and will instead focus on the buyout market. Does this mean an easy day for Wojnarowski? Or are buyers just putting the heat on sellers to lower their prices?
If Ainge is among the GMs holding onto their assets, then it’s clear he’d rather hold on to all those draft picks than give them up for a rental.
Some of the notable names that will be available on the buyout market are Joe Johnson, Wilson Chandler and old friend Tony Allen (Brook Lopez may also become a free agent in the near future).
10:35 a.m.: Things remain quiet, but the potential Avery Bradley trade to the Spurs is the talk of Twitter so far this morning.
Danny Green and a first-round pick is a pretty steep price for the Spurs to pay for a rental. Green is a solid defender in his own right, though Bradley probably has a little more offense to his game.
9:20 a.m.: Adrian Wojnarowski says the Denver Nuggets could be the most active team this afternoon.
The Celtics certainly have a lot of competition for Evans, and the Nuggets might be their biggest threat.
8:45 a.m.: You may feel like this is all coming at you a little too early, and you’re right. The NBA moved their annual trade bonanza up by a couple of weeks to give teams a little extra time to acclimate their new players to their systems, and more importantly, avoid having another star player changing teams during the All-Star game.
Teams have until 3 p.m. this afternoon to swing a trade, and at the moment, it appears we might be in for a somewhat quiet day when it comes to transactions. There are a number of big names involved in rumors, from DeAndre Jordan to Kemba Walker to Tyreke Evans, but the asking prices remain high. Contenders have a few more hours to wait out the gaudy asking prices, or give into them.
The Celtics have been heavily rumored to be involved in talks for Evans, who is averaging 19.5 points, five rebounds and five assists per game for the Grizzlies this season. The 28-year-old hasn’t played since Jan. 29 as Memphis looks for a trade partner, and they’re reportedly asking for a first-round pick in return. It appears most teams aren’t willing to part with such an asset, and you can include Danny Ainge in that mix. He has a nice collection of draft picks to barter with, but he doesn’t seem to willing to part with a first-rounder for a four-month rental. At least not right now — we’ll see if that changes closer to the deadline.
According to the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett, other teams have made better offers for Evans:
The Celtics, are, however, still on the periphery of the Tyreke Evans talk, but it was looking Wednesday as if Memphis has better offers. According to one third-party general manager who has been involved in the process, teams like the Celts look to be lying in wait in case more active talks stall.
The notion that Danny Ainge will be exhausting all possibilities until the deadline is supported by the fact the Celts will be waiting until after 3 p.m. Thursday to sign free agent Greg Monroe to fill their disabled player exception slot. They want to maintain flexibility until the last minute in case they need to do some roster maneuvering.
There is no shortage of suitors for Evans, with the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat also in the mix. Along with the C’s, those two teams could be active today as they try to make some noise at the bottom of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. The Denver Nuggets are also interested in Evans.
Another potential trade target of Boston’s is off the market, with the Clippers signing guard Lou Williams to a three-year deal yesterday. So we’ll see how badly Ainge wants some scoring off the bench come 3 p.m., or if it’s something he’s willing to wait for the buyout market to add (players released before March 1 are still eligible for playoff rosters). If the price on Evans doesn’t go down, don’t be surprised if Ainge stays put on deadline day.
Then again, this is Danny Ainge, so who really knows what is going to happen. ‘Trader Danny” has the reputation of pulling off a big deal that no one was talking or thinking about; remember that Kendrick Perkins shocker in 2011?
Elsewhere on the trade front, a former Celtic could be on the move — again.
That’d be a great move for Bradley, who could be a perfect fit in Gregg Popovich’s system.
AB isn’t the only former Celtic who might be changing uniforms today. Isaiah Thomas could be on the move given the fact Cleveland is in disarray. After the Cavs beat the Timberwolves on a LeBron James buzzer-beater last night, IT said he’s “tired of being traded” and would like to stay in Cleveland.
The Cavs are reportedly engaged in trade talks with the Clippers for DeAndre Jordan, with the two sides trying to find a third team to facilitate a deal.
We’ll be locked in to everything deadline day leading up to the 3 p.m. deadline, so stick with us for all the rumors and deals surrounding the Celtics and NBA.