But some people wonder whether the Celts will be able to keep all their desired pieces together as Thomas, Avery Bradley and others come up for renewal in this new marketplace. “Yeah, we can fit everybody in,” said Ainge. “But, listen, those are questions that I don’t even have answers for yet. That’s part of the difficult puzzle that is all hard. All I’m saying is those are things I have to worry about that even I don’t like to think about. And I know that those are going to be difficult decisions at some point. But we want to keep Isaiah. All I know is that he’s had an amazing year, and who doesn’t want Isaiah Thomas on their team? Like, you’ve got to be kidding me.”
Since that fateful day, Stern has said many times he rejected the trade in his capacity as acting owner of the Hornets (the NBA owned the team at the time), not as commisioner, but during an appearance on the “Nunyo and Company” podcast, Stern revealed some new information: The Lakers still could have potentially completed a deal for Paul (emphasis mine). “(My decision) was only based on what was good for New Orleans, or what was not good for New Orleans. It had nothing to do with the Lakers at all. And in fact, in the course of the weekend, we thought we could re-do the deal. We really thought that Houston would be ready to part with Kyle Lowry; and we had a trade lined up for Odom that would have gotten us a good first round draft pick. Not we, but my basketball folks. But Mitch Kupchack at the time panicked, and moved Odom to Dallas. So the piece wasn’t even there for us to play with at the time. So that was it — just about what was good for the then New Orleans Hornets.
It’s an interesting time for Kanter to become an international story, considering he’s quite likely on the trading block for the Thunder. We wrote about Kanter’s status for the Wednesday Oklahoman, which you can read here. Does Kanter’s contentious relationship with Turkey hurt his trade value? How could it not? We’ve already established that Kanter’s value has been diminished by the type of play. Low-post players with limited versatility are not in demand the way they once were. A player like Kanter still can help a team – he still helps the Thunder a bunch – but his value is less than in previous forms of NBA play.
Multiple league sources have told CSNNE.com in recent weeks that the Celtics are focused on landing an All-Star caliber talent in the frontcourt. That makes sense when you consider how guard-dominant the Celtics were this season and how that had a negative impact on the team’s rebounding and, to a lesser degree, their defense as a whole.
That could be the first layer of this team to be scrubbed away. The second, and more consequential, would come over the course of the following year. That starts with All-Star Isaiah Thomas, whose name has lately been the subject of trade speculation. But league sources indicate that any talk of dealing Thomas is strictly speculation at this point — the Celtics have had no such discussions. Not yet, at least.
Big man Kelly Olynyk, who rescued the Celtics with Game 7 heroics against Washington, is a restricted free agent, and while Boston does not want to lose him outright, a sizable offer from another team could price him out of the Celtics’ range. If possible, too, the Celtics would like to find a taker for big man Tyler Zeller, who is owed $8 million next season.