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Washburn: Celtics should look to buy, not sell at trade deadline

As the trade deadline approaches, what should the game plan be for the Celtics?

Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

Contenders or pretenders? Buy or sell? These are questions the Celtics need to answer heading into the upcoming NBA trade deadline, now only three weeks away.

President Brad Stevens has already made one minor move, shipping Juancho Hernangomez to San Antonio in a three-team deal in exchange for Bol Bol, PJ Dozier, and some cap relief.

The question is will the Celtics - who sit at 23-24, good for 9th in the East - do anything real to improve their team prior to the deadline, or accept that this is another lost season, try and sell off some parts and look to the future?

The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn believes there are moves to be made that can improve the Celtics this year and beyond.

“If you turn into sellers, I think it’d be really discouraging for your fanbase,” Washburn told A Sherrod Blakely and Kwani A Lunis on the A List Podcast on CLNS Media. “I think they can turn into buyers, but they’re probably going to have to part with Romeo or Aaron, maybe even Payton… But I probably think they’re going to have to part with one of those guys.”

Romeo Langford is in his third year in Boston and both Aaron Nesmith and Payton Pritchard are in Year Two. None have been able to consistently crack head coach Ime Udoka’s rotations this season. Any trade involving any of those three would be selling low on assets whose value the Celtics have not yet realized.

“The question is, how attached is Brad Stevens to some of these youngsters,” Washburn wonders. ”Is he as attached as (Former President) Danny [Ainge] was? Because as we learned, the attachment to the young guys burned Danny a lot.”

For whatever reason, Ainge was reluctant to part with the younger assets, but few ended up developing into rotational pieces. At the same time, Washburn pointed out that Ainge also ended up trading starting-caliber players away for nothing, players like Javonte Green, who has started some games for the Chicago Bulls or Max Strus, who the Celtics let go in favor of Green and is now a rotation guy in Miami.

So, while Washburn is in favor of the Celtics being buyers at the deadline, he believes Stevens should proceed with caution.

“For me, Brad’s got to be smart. And I think he’s extremely smart. He’s got to make the right move. He’s got to be fearless and be like, ‘listen,’ — to whichever prospect — ‘it just hasn’t worked’… It’s not an easy decision… But you can’t have your team filled with prospects who haven’t done it [developed] yet.”