Overnight Marc Stein elaborated on his tweets with an updated trade rumor article. In it he describes the Celtics as the "strongest rivals" to the 76ers for landing Omer Asik. The Atlanta Hawks are mentioned, but they are (rightly) hesitant to give up Paul Millsap in an Asik deal. Other teams are mentioned, including Cleveland, but it sounds like they'd be more likely to be part of the deal as a 3rd team facilitator.
Here's the juiciest bit.
One possible scenario that has emerged, sources say, is a three-way trade in which Boston lands Asik, Cleveland absorbs the contract of Celtics forward Jeff Green and Houston scores no fewer than one of the future first-round picks it covets for surrendering Asik. Other players would have to be involved in such a trade to make the salary-cap math work, but it's the sort of trade that would fall in line with Cleveland's well-known focus on upgrading its options at small forward.
So the Cavs would get Jeff Green and presumably they would be the ones giving up the draft pick to get him (so the Celtics would keep all their picks). If Houston can get a draft pick plus some spare parts from Cleveland, that might be their best value but I'm still not sold on giving up Jeff Green for Asik.
Which hints at where this source might be coming from. You see, with trade rumors, you always have to consider who's leaking the info and what agenda they have.
For instance, another report this morning posted by the venerable Steve Bulpett seems to have a different spin. If anything, it sounds like the Celtics are (at least publicly) in no hurry to do anything.
The Celtics are not trying to tweak their roster for a deep playoff run, as has been the case in recent years. They are under no pressure to make a key move and get a new player in tune with their rotation. Ainge can wait to see how the market is shaking out, knowing it’s highly likely he’ll be in a better position to deal when teams grow more nervous as the shopping days dwindle. The Celtics, indeed, tried to get in the running for Houston center Omer Asik and had some talks along those lines, but unless they can get involved as part of a multiple-team transaction, it appeared that the Rockets weren’t interested in what the Celts might be offering.
That sounds kind of like posturing to me. The Rockets are the ones with the self imposed deadline of Dec. 19th to trade Asik and the Celtics, while interested, aren't going to jump through hoops just to get the deal done on Houston's terms.
Sounds like the team hasn't necessarily shifted into "win now" mode as some outlets would want you to believe.
What is known at this point is that, as has been reported here for a while, the Celtics are very much interested in making one or more deals that would take them further away from the luxury tax line and, thus, preserve and grow their flexibility as they continue their rebuilding efforts.
So will a trade occur involving the Celtics in the next day or two? It isn't clear yet but I wouldn't touch that dial.
Updated from Mannix:
Consistently hearing that BOS isn't all that enthralled with Asik. League source on if Jeff Green could be involved in Asik deal: "No way."— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) December 18, 2013
Any team acquiring Asik knows it could be just a year and a half rental--w/a $15 million balloon payment as an exit fee.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) December 18, 2013