In the two months leading up to the NBA trade deadline, the Celtics were at one point or another linked to just about every player who has rumored to move. Recently however, the team may have narrowed their focus. According to the latest updates from Shams Charania of The Athletic and The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, Danny Ainge may be heavily focused on starters from the Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic.
Let’s start in Atlanta, where O’Connor says the Hawks are “receiving significant trade interest for John Collins from the Celtics, Kings, Mavericks, Pistons, and Timberwolves.” This is the second straight week a national reporter has mentioned Collins’ name in the context of the Celtics, with Charania describing him as “a player of interest” for Boston last week.
O’Connor says Atlanta is looking for a return of “one young player and a first-round draft pick…or a package of similar value such as multiple first-round picks” to get the deal done. However, it could end up costing the Celtics more, because Collins isn’t the only Hawks player they’re interested in.
Acorrding to O’Connor, “Boston’s pursuit of Collins also involves another key Hawks rotation player, according to league sources: Bogdan Bogdanovic, whom the Celtics had some trade discussions about while he was in Sacramento.” The 28-year-old guard would provide the Celtics with a much needed shooter off the bench, but the long-term impacts of such a trade could handcuff the Celtics – Bogdanovich is in the first year of a four-year, $72 million contract.
While the Celtics are looking into some of the Hawks better players, Atlanta might be looking back at a .500 team they think could be sellers. According to Charania, the Hawks “have expressed interest in Celtics guard Marcus Smart.” There’s no indication of whether that would be in return for Collins and/or Bogdanovic, or in a separate deal.
As for Orlando, Charania names the Celtics as one of at least five teams interested in forward Aaron Gordon, and goes as far to say the team has “engaged in conversations with the Magic” regarding the 25-year-old. However, they’ll have tough competition with the Houston Rockets reportedly in on Gordon as well, given Houston’s bounty of first-round picks obtained in the James Harden trade.
Like with the Hawks, the Celtics aren’t looking at just one player from Orlando. Charania calls the C’s “a potential suitor” for Evan Fournier, without listing any other interested teams. Fournier, like Bogdanovic, would give the Celtics a true bench scoring threat. However, he doesn’t have the same long-term baggage with an expiring $17.1 million contract.
Expect a regular stream of rumors to continue between now and Thursday’s trade deadline. All trades must be complete by March 25 at 3:00 p.m..
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.