Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge is intent on changing his roster. While he is working to find a fair deal to ship point guard Rajon Rondo out of town, he is also looking at other potential moves to get his aging team younger and more athletic.
Ainge has apparently been working to try and pry forward Josh Smith away from the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks reportedly are willing to part with Smith, but they won’t just give him away for expiring contracts.
Boston is willing to move Kevin Garnett (and his expiring contract), but Atlanta won’t take him in exchange for Smith. The Celtics are also willing to part with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen for young players and draft picks.
Frankly, though Ainge would like to score Smith, there is almost no chance the Hawks will send him to Boston for one of the team’s older players. Atlanta general manager Rick Sund likes Allen but he isn’t dumb enough to just ship Smith to the Celtics to get the veteran 3-point shooter.
Smith has been quietly asking for a trade for about a year now, and the Hawks actually had talks with Minnesota last year about sending him to the Timberwolves in exchange for the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft. Since then, Atlanta hasn’t been pushing hard to move him.
Allen’s contract expires after this season, as does Garnett’s, while Pierce is owed $32 million over the next two seasons. Meanwhile, Smith is owed $13.2 million for next season before he becomes a free agent.
Smith is just 26 years old and is in his seventh year in the league. He is averaging 16.0 points and a career-high 9.6 rebounds per game, but is shooting just 44.4 percent from the field. He could be a nice complementary piece on a contender but isn’t good enough to be a go-to guy on a top tier team.
There is a fair chance he moves before the deadline, but a trade to the Celtics seems unlikely.