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NBA trade speculation: Would the Hornets trade down with the Celtics?

They got rid of their Lance problem. Now what?

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Hornets completed a trade yesterday sending troublesome Lance Stephenon to The Guard Whisperer Doc Rivers in Los Angeles.  There's at least some speculation that they might not be done and that the Boston Celtics could get involved.

Earlier this summer Kevin O'Connor speculated on some trades where the Celtics could find their way into the top 10.

The Boston Celtics have the pieces to trade up and grab the prospect they are targeting - CelticsBlog

Charlotte (#9) needs shooting and Stanley Johnson would be a fine pick, but maybe they'd prefer to trade down to the 16th spot to select Devin Booker, R.J. Hunter, or Kelly Oubre, all while acquiring extra assets. Depending on what they want to do with restricted free agent Bismack Biyombo could also play into their decision to stay put or trade out.

If any of the top players in the draft start to slip a little, getting into the 9 spot would put the Celtics in position to capitalize.  Remember that Paul Pierce slipped to them at number 10 way back when.  Otherwise, there are still some solid players that could be available at 9 that are just a tier or two above what the Celtics could get at 16.

2015 NBA Draft rumors: If Charlotte Hornets move down, Boston Celtics would be 'most logical trade partner' |

Getting into the top 10 would give Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge more options. Depending upon how the draft unfolds, he could potentially find someone there to boost his team's shooting (Devin Booker), rim protection (Myles Turner), or defensive versatility (Stanley Johnson) -- all areas Boston would like to improve.

The obvious trade would simply be our 16 and 28 picks for the 9th.  However, the Hornets might want a slightly more veteran player to help on the court immediately.  The Hornets are over the cap and unlikely to be making many big moves in free agency.

So will the Celtics and Hornets make a deal?  This is all still just speculation and I wouldn't expect a deal to be talked about seriously until just before the draft and the deal wouldn't be agreed upon until the teams see who's on the board when the picks come up.  But this is an example of the kind of deal we've been discussing on these pages for the last few months.  Danny Ainge has options and that will be fun to watch unfold.

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