By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- This is the time of the year when we hear a bunch of trade rumors about the Boston Celtics, only to have Danny Ainge sit on his hands and do nothing. Inactivity will not be acceptable at this year's trade deadline though, with the Celtics stuck in a quicksand-like trap of mediocrity.
It's time for Ainge to live up to that "Trader Danny" moniker and actually make a trade. With the Celtics sitting at 21-22 on the year, he needs to shake it up a bit. And a rumored swap with the Magic for Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier would be what the Celtics need to add some talent to the roster, and kick the current crop of players in the behind.
Listen to The Cars, Danny. Shake it up.
Before we hit on Gordon's potential fit with Boston, we'll touch on the outgoing package in these reported talks: Two first-round picks and Marcus Smart. The picks are just part of doing business at the deadline, and given Ainge's recent track record in the draft, we'll take Gordon and Fournier over players no other team would consider drafting (though kudos on that Payton Pritchard pick).
Losing Smart would, obviously, be a pretty tough pill to swallow for a good chunk of Celtics fans. Simply put, I love the man. I love to see him violating personal space while hounding opposing players on defense, love to see him diving on the floor for every loose ball. He's Boston's emotional leader. He's their defensive heartbeat and should be the main piece of the team's DNA. Emphasis on should.
The Celtics used to be a defense-first team, but that has gone out the window this season. The Celtics currently sit 22nd in the NBA in defensive rating. It's been even worse over the last 15 games, with Boston 27th in the league with a 116.7 defensive rating. The team has gone 7-8 over that span, holding the opposition to under 100 points just once. That opponent was the Orlando Magic.
There was a time when including Smart in a deal was a nonstarter, and the Celtics are still reportedly reluctant to part ways with their defensive bulldog. But here we are. As much as Marcus may be the glue on that end of the floor, the epoxy has come undone this season. Mix in what Smart does on the offense, which causes headaches more than it relieves them, and it becomes a little easier to take his inclusion in such a trade.
There's also the little matter of having to give something up in order to get something, a concept that Ainge doesn't always grasp. And what the Celtics would be receiving in return is worth it for Smart and two picks. Gordon is a versatile wing player who fits right into that "size and shooting" mold that Ainge is seeking at the deadline. He's having the best season of his career, doing a lot of everything on the floor. He's knocking down threes, and would help space the floor and clear paths to the basket for Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. He's super athletic and would be a solid complement for the two young stars in a season where they've needed a lot more help than Boston's current roster can offer.
Gordon is also signed through next season, which would give Boston an extended look at what he can offer them before they'd have to offer up an extension. The main point of using that TPE from Gordon Hayward's departure is finding a player who could help for the long run, someone who could keep the Jays happy and help maximize their early 20s. Gordon would fit that bill, while adding a little more size and a lot more shooting to Boston's roster.
Add in Fournier, a solid nine-year vet who would be exactly what Boston needs off the bench, and this deal seems like a no-brainer for Ainge. You have to give up something to get something, and unfortunately, Smart is that something in this move.
Usually, it's the moves we don't hear about that Ainge ends up pulling off, and with just over 48 hours left until the buzzer sounds on the NBA's trading season, we're still going 'round and 'round the rumor mill. We're seeing a lot of smoke coming from Causeway Street, but hopefully this time around, it's not just smoke and Ainge actually makes a move.
His team desperately needs it, and if these reports are true, Ainge has a golden opportunity to make the ideal move to help his team this season and next.
Take it Danny. Shake it up.
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