Rumor: Ainge Loves Tyreke Evans

Well, where there's smoke, there's fire.  We may have officially passed the point where we can assume that Ainge is "just kicking the tires."  I'm ready to believe that Ainge is, indeed, shopping Ray Allen around the league.  That doesn't mean it is a given he'll be traded.  It just means that if Ainge can get what he feels is good value for him, Ray's days as a Celtic could very well be over soon.

Chad Ford has the following rumors about the Celtics: (Updated with my thoughts between each rumor)

While the Celtics have shot down a rumor that they were talking to the Suns about an Amare Stoudemire for Rajon Rondo swap … we keep hearing their name more and more in conjunction with a top-to-mid first-round draft pick -- a sign that Danny Ainge must see someone he likes up high.

While various sources have different players pegged, there seems to be some consensus that one player in particular -- Memphis' Tyreke Evans -- is an Ainge favorite.

Interesting.  Here is Tyreke's page on Draft Express.  I've been hearing about Evans since his junior year of high school, so you know he's got bigtime talent.  He didn't exactly light the world on fire in Memphis though.  In that way he sort of sounds like Rondo (who struggled in the system at Kentucky).

If the Celtics are going to get Evans, they'll have to get somewhere in the top 10, most likely the top five.

The Grizzlies, Thunder and Wizards all have picks in the top five and have been open to swapping their picks. While it's doubtful that Rondo is their bait, Ray Allen and his expiring contract could be.

I'm very happy to hear that Rondo isn't the main trade bait here.  Call me a fanboy if you want, but I really think he's going to be special for many years to come and I just don't want to part with him.

The Celtics could trade Allen to Memphis for a combination of Darko Milicic, Greg Buckner and Marko Jaric. That could save the Grizzlies a little money now and a lot of money next year … but that seems like a stretch. The Grizzlies don't need Allen and I'm sure he wouldn't be thrilled to play there.

I think Ford has a good take on this.  We've heard that Memphis has talked to us about the 2nd pick but I'm not sure Ray fits what they're trying to do there unless they flip him to someone else.  Besides, 2 seems high for Evans in a draft where everyone has their sights on Rubio and Thabeet (after Griffin of course).  I wouldn't mind a flyer on Darko, but not at the cost of Ray.

The Thunder aren't great partners either. They don't really have any bad contracts and while Allen would give them a nice veteran perimeter presence, they're not giving up the No. 3 pick in the draft to get him.

Agree.  The Thunder don't need to dump salary.  It makes more sense to hang onto the pick and keep building a good young core.

The Kings have also reached out to the Celtics and would be willing to deal the No. 4 pick if they could get Rondo in return. The Celtics would likely want more than just the No. 4 pick for Rondo -- and the Kings might be willing to throw in either Jason Thompson or Spencer Hawes to make it happen.

I know Kings fans are very excited about Thompson and Hawes, so I'm not sure the Kings would pull the trigger on this, even for Rondo.   I'm a Rondo fanboy, so I'm not crazy about this either.  However, if you are willing to give up Rondo, getting a top pick and a top big man prospect is a nice return.  Then Ainge is left looking for solutions at point guard.

That leaves the Wizards, who are really intriguing. Allen is a fit in Washington. The Wizards are a veteran team that is looking for another piece to make it a contender. Allen also is in the last year of his contract, which means the Wizards could get some long-term cap relief if they put together the right deal. Would trading Allen for Etan Thomas, Mike James, Darius Songaila and the No. 5 pick make sense for the Wizards and Celtics?

This actually seems like the most "reasonable" idea, but it has plenty of flaws as well.  What I don't understand from the Wizards standpoint is what they do with Ray.  Butler is their best player so unless they are looking to trade someone else, Ray would be coming off the bench.  (Never mind, it looks like Butler plays the 3 spot a lot and Ray would fit into the starting lineup nicely)

From the Celtics perspective, it isn't so bad - depending on what they do with the guys they get.  Thomas and James are both expiring contracts that Ainge can either flip in this offseason or move at the trade deadline (with Scal and Tony Allen?).

The Wizards don't really save much money in the long run.  Basically they give up their pick for a one year rental of Ray Allen and knocking a year off Songila's contract.

If Boston can't find a workable deal in the top five, several other teams including the Nets (11), Pistons (15), Bulls (16, 26), Wolves (18), Kings (23) and Grizzlies (27) are open to moving their picks. While those wouldn't be high enough to land Evans, it would get the Celtics a solid pick in the first.

None of these ideas seem ideal.  But with some tweaks here or there you never know.  I remember being confused by the Ray Allen trade when it happened, but once we landed Kevin Garnett it all made sense.  If we do make a move on draft day, it could be to set up a move shortly after.  If we make a deal with the Wizards, do we turn around and ship expiring contracts to the Suns for Stoudamire?  If we make any deal moving Ray or Rondo, who plays SG or PG for us?

Say one thing for this offseason, it hasn't been boring.  We're just a couple weeks away from Draft Night.  Buckle in, this could get interesting.

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