Most executives contacted by FOX Sports Ohio say it seems more and more likely that Ainge and coach Brad Stevens want to build around point guard Rajon Rondo, forward Jeff Green and second-year big man Jared Sullinger, the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week. Everyone else, however, appears to be available. (And even those three aren't considered untouchable.) Outside of Rondo, Green and Sullinger, forward Brandon Bass and guard Avery Bradley are drawing the most interest. The same goes for backup forward Kris Humphries, whose $12 million contract is set to expire. The Golden State Warriors are said to be one team particularly interested in Bass, but no word on the others.
Not much new news there, but it is more smoke leading me to believe there's real fire out there.
It seems like the most likely of any of the players to get dealt is Brandon Bass.
"I do think he's going to get dealt," Blakely said. "And at this point there's a lot of window shopping that you're seeing going on by teams. But certainly the way he has played is a big factor but even a bigger factor is that he has a very manageable contract. He has another year left on that deal after this one, but when you look at his production, and when you look at the fact that he's making less than $7 million a year, that's a guy that pretty much every team in the NBA can find a way to fit in a role player like him."
One name that continues to not be mentioned is Rajon Rondo. And for good reasons. Gary Dzen takes a look at some of those reasons here:
The worst argument of all for trading Rondo is that trading him before the deadline improves the team's chances of tanking for a top draft pick. The Celtics can manipulate the roster in other ways -- they've traded Courtney Lee and Jordan Crawford already this season, and they can give Rondo strategic nights off. Plus have you seen this team? The C's aren't exactly world-beaters even with Rondo on the floor. Shipping out a known commodity for a slightly better chance at an unknown one, even with a loaded draft, would be shortsighted.
Finally, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that the trade rumors impact real people's lives. The players, however, are taking things in stride so far.
"You can't let that affect your game," Bass told CSNNE.com earlier. "You just have to go out and play your game, do what you do and whatever happens, happens." Said Ainge: "Most guys that have been around this league, if you're worth anything you're involved in trade rumors, you're involved in discussions. It's just part of the world we live in. I don't know what you can do except just play."
The Celtics have won 3 of 4 games recently, so I'd say they aren't all that distracted. Though to be fair, the teams that they beat aren't exactly the cream of the crop themselves.
As usual, stay tuned to CelticsBlog for all the latest trade rumors and updates.