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NBA Trade Deadline 2018: How will Danny Ainge use the DPE?

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Setting the table for how the Boston Celtics may approach the NBA trade deadline this year.

Boston Celtics Introduce Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA trade deadline was moved up this year to February 8th and that means two things. First, my wife won’t be frustrated at my constantly buzzing phone on Valentine’s Day. And second, we have that much less time to prepare for trade rumor season!

We’re more than halfway through January and we’ve heard very little in way of Celtics trade rumors thus far. There’s always the long-view “keeping an eye on the Anthony Davis situation” and there are plenty of opinions on how to use the Disabled Player Exception (DPE). But thus far there hasn’t been many names linked directly with the Celtics.

Part of that is because nearly the entire roster is brand new and we haven’t even had a chance to see how all the pieces fit together with Gordon Hayward on the court. Part of it is because the team is 34 - 10 and “it ain’t broke,” so nobody is in a rush to “fix it.”

Still, this is Danny Ainge we’re talking about here. So stay on your toes.

To kick things off, let’s answer some boilerplate questions sent to us courtesy of SBNation.

1: With the trade deadline approaching do you consider your team to be a “buyer” or a “seller”?

Definitely buyers, but probably choosy ones. As mentioned above, the team is operating at a high level. The DPE is a valuable tool that could fill in holes or add a dimension for the playoff push. On the other hand, it is unlikely the team will give up too much in valuable draft assets for a half-year rental (it can only be used on a player in the last year of their contract making no more than $8.4M).

Chris Mannix has reported that the Celtics will in fact use that exception, one way or another. But keep in mind that it can be used in a trade or to sign a free agent (perhaps one that shakes free in the buyout market after the deadline).

2: What are the top tradable assets on your team’s roster and/or what players are “untradeable”?

On one hand, I can say unequivocally that there is no such thing as an untradeable player on a team that Danny Ainge runs. Just ask Isaiah Thomas.

On the other hand, I think anyone silly enough to ask for Jayson Tatum would find that the price tag on him is extremely, ridiculously, ludicrously high.

Jaylen Brown probably isn’t too far behind him and the Lakers/Kings pick is another one in the “you better be talking Anthony Davis or I’m hanging up” range.

I could see the Celtics using their own pick in order to pick up an impact player using the DPE. They also have future (protected) picks from the Clippers and Grizzlies if the price is right.

I wouldn’t rule out the team using Marcus Morris and some end-of-bench guys to swing a trade for a player that can’t be added with the DPE.

3: What holes do you think your team would try and fill at the deadline?

The Celtics could always use a guy that can create his own shot and drive into the lane. They’ve filled the center position admirably with Aron Baynes and Daniel Theis, but another useful big man couldn’t hurt either.

4: What’s your “dream trade”?

I suppose my dream trade would be a 2nd rounder for Nerlens Noel (and then Noel turned into the kind of defensive game-changer that everyone’s been waiting for him to be all along.

Perhaps a more realistic trade would be the Celtics’ own first rounder for Tyreke Evans.

With all that said, the Celtics could very well decide to punt on the trade deadline and see which players become available on the buyout market after the deadline (which means my phone might be buzzing on Feb. 14 after all). Keep an eye on Greg Monroe if that option opens up.

Danny Ainge has never been shy about making deals at the deadline, but he’s also perfectly content to sit out of the activities if he doesn’t get the value he’s looking for.