With the NBA Draft rapidly approaching we are bound to be struck by a flurry of trade rumors over the next couple of days. Most of these rumors will never come to fruition, but many of them come with at least a grain of truth that the offer has been at least discussed. Even if it doesn't happen, it still provides us with some insight into what teams are thinking.
The latest rumor says a lot about what the Boston Celtics are willing to do.
According to the L.A. Times' Broderick Turner, league executives have reveled that the Celtics offered point guard Marcus Smart, along with the No. 16 and No. 28 first-round picks in this year's draft, to the Philadelphia 76ers for Nerlens Noel and the No. 3 pick in the draft.
Turner's sources indicated that the Sixers turned down the offer, leaving little reason to believe these discussions will reignite prior to Thursday's draft. While this seems to be yet another wild rumor that won't pan out, what this tells us is that what many have speculated is true. Danny Ainge is being as aggressive as anyone heading into the draft and nobody is untouchable.
"There's no such thing as untouchables," Ainge said Tuesday, as reported by Masslive.com. "But there's guys that we really love and are part of our core who we don't want to move."
Most of us presumed that Smart was part of that core, so if Ainge did offer him to Philadelphia it confirms his willingness to put anyone on the table. It's not that he doesn't believe Smart can be a key part of the future for this franchise, but if the opportunity to make a significant upgrade to the talent on this roster becomes available, Ainge is willing to consider any path to make it happen.
Boston has been linked to several rumors, including packaging picks to move up in the draft, as well as being strong suitors for the potentially available DeMarcus Cousins. There are a lot of paths the Celtics could take, but if Ainge gets his way, staying put with his current crop of draft picks won't be one of them.
Ainge:"We don't know where we're drafting or what position we'll be in.We think there'll be a lot of activity on draft night so stay tuned."— Boston Celtics (@celtics) June 23, 2015
The Celtics have a total of four picks in this year's draft, including two in the first round, but they won't necessarily be using all of them. Ainge went on to say that he's looking for quality over quantity. Boston has a lot of picks and he'd prefer to use less of them this year and in the future if it means packaging some of his assets together to land a bigger fish.
Offering Smart to the Sixers is one example of how Ainge has tried to make a splash. This time it didn't work out, but that won't keep him from trying.