When the All-Star Weekend ends the NBA’s silly season really kicks into high gear. Typically the All-Star Game is followed fairly quickly by the trade deadline. It is usually the first Thursday after the NBA meets in one place.
That makes All-Star Weekend an absolute zoo of racing and rampant rumors of imminent trades that have less than a week to get done.
The 2012 All-Star Weekend was not short of its own racing rumors — the event’s unofficial host, after all, is at the center of the biggest trade storm of the year. Things were kept relatively quiet on that front, although rumors began to quietly simmer toward the end of the weekend.
This year, with teams still just passing the halfway mark, the trade deadline will have to wait a little longer. The March 15 deadline looms and no team is going to be able to avoid it. It will be two weeks of rumors going back and forth.
Where will Dwight Howard end up? What about Deron Williams? Or Steve Nash? Will Minnesota or Houston finally land Pau Gasol? Is Monta Ellis on the move?
Plenty of big names will be on the market or attached to various rumors.
Even the mighty Boston Celtics have succumbed to rumors as the team has continued to struggle just to maintain a spot in the Playoffs. The Celtics’ big three appear to be nearing the end of their run.
Paul Pierce still has some juice left in him and made the All-Star team despite averaging just 17.6 points per game (a low since his rookie year) and is posting a career-low 19.1 PER. If only every player had that as his worst season. Kevin Garnett seems to be hitting his last legs too. He is not quite the imposing figure he once was, especially on the offensive end. Ray Allen is not getting any younger, but his shot is as good as any other.
It feels like this team is slowly being handed to Rajon Rondo for the post-Big Three world. Yet, it was Rondo that was at the center of just about every trade rumor involving Boston for a while as Danny Ainge tries to restock his club quickly to remain competitive following the Big Three’s ride off into the sunset.
Rondo does not appear on the market though. Despite rumored clashes between Ainge and Rondo, it seems like Rondo and Pierce are almost untouchable on the roster. Boston would not consider trading them.
Allen on the other hand…
Sean Deveny of Sporting News reports Allen could be the first of the Celtics to go as the franchise looks to reload. That is not necessarily because that is who the Celtics most want to get rid of, but more because that is whom teams want the most. Deveney reports though that the Celtics don’t want to trade him. The right package though can change anything.
Allen would be a great addition for any contending team looking for a strong shooter and floor spacer who plays well younger than his years. This season, Allen is averaging 14.5 points per game (a low since his rookie year) and is shooting 48.5 percent from beyond the arc. Again, Allen would be a great addition to just about any team.
The questions, as always, is whether the price will be right.
Boston is in a strange place at 16-17. Everyone recognizes that this is a super dangerous potential eight seed in the Eastern Conference, not unlike the Knicks were in 1999. Yet, Danny Ainge knows that time is ticking and the championship window is about to shut if it has not done so already. He does not want Boston to go through the kind of lull it went through after holding on to Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parrish too long.
Does that mean he is willing to break up this core for young, unproven players and draft picks and risk losing this season? Does that mean anybody and everybody is on the table no matter the loyalty to the franchise?
The Celtics have 16 days to answer those questions.