The Celtics have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA to start the season. At 11-3, they rode the top of the East standings until they dropped a barn-burner to the Clippers this week and the Bucks claimed the No. 1 spot. They’ve been firing on all cylinders since Kyrie Irving’s departure, with their young core reclaiming some of that spark that nearly landed them in the NBA Finals two years ago.
Still, far be it from Danny Ainge, one of the league’s most formidable executives, to be complacent. So any rumors that may be swirling around some of the their key players being available on the trade market should come as little surprise, despite the protestations that might officially or otherwise come down to quash them.
Yet even if it would be relatively easy to pinpoint the most likely trade targets as the Celtics look to fill their needs, it won’t be an easy task to try and finagle a deal. According to a recent report from Brian Windhorst, the Celtics are telling interested parties that neither Gordon Hayward nor Marcus Smart are available.
While one could have some fun with the Trade Machine, Boston has made it clear to anyone who has asked that their core players are absolutely not available. That includes, sources said, both Hayward and Smart, players who have been floated as possible trade chips in the past.
Hayward has had his ups and downs during his tenure in Boston since his leg injury, but showed flashes of the All-Star player he once was in Utah before getting sidelined with a hand injury. Smart, meanwhile, is the heart and soul of the Celtics and not only the team’s best defender, but one of the best and most versatile defenders around the league.
Both have plenty of potential value on the trade market, and despite what the front office might say, on or off the record, Ainge will consider all of this options as he continuously evaluates ways to improve his roster, despite their early-season success.