Celtics trade targets: 10 options for C's as NBA trade deadline nears

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Celtics trade targets: 10 players worth considering as deadline nears originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

According to Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka, Brad Stevens' phone has been "ringing off the hook" ahead of the NBA trade deadline.

But which calls should Stevens be answering?

The C's president of basketball operations faces some difficult decisions between now and Feb. 10. On one hand, the new supporting cast he brought in last summer hasn't really meshed with young stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown: Boston sits eighth in the Eastern Conference at 25-24 and has endured some head-scratching late-game collapses.

On the other hand, the Celtics appear to be righting the ship: They've won seven of their last 10 and boast the NBA's second-best net rating (9.6) in the month of January (albeit against mostly subpar competition).

Forsberg: It's decision time for the Celtics and Marcus Smart

Does that mean Stevens should be aggressive at the trade deadline, looking to package a "core" player like Marcus Smart with other assets to land a third star for Tatum and Brown? Or should Stevens seek more modest deals that give Boston the flexibility to make bigger moves this offseason?

We're not ruling out any path -- which is we compiled a list of 10 possible trade candidates for the Celtics as the deadline looms. Some are more realistic than others, but all would make at least some sense for Boston based on their skill sets.

Bradley Beal, G, Washington Wizards

Age: 28

2021-22 stats: 23.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 6.5 apg, 45.5% FG, 30.1% 3PT

Current contract: Two years, $70.1M (player option for 2022-23)

Is a Beal trade realistic? Not at the moment. But the Wizards continue to test Beal's loyalty after blowing a 35-point lead to the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night.

The three-time All-Star's friendship with fellow St. Louis native Jayson Tatum is well-documented, so as long as Tatum is a Celtic, the Beal-to-Boston speculation will remain alive. The question, of course, is whether the C's could land Beal without giving up Brown -- and field a competent roster around three high-priced talents.

Domantas Sabonis, F/C, Indiana Pacers

Age: 25

2021-22 stats: 19.0 ppg, 11.9 rpg, 4.9 apg, 57.7% FG, 24.8% 3PT

Current contract: Four years, $74.9M (expires 2024)

Sabonis would come at a high cost, and with good reason: He does a lot of things really well. The two-time All-Star is a rebound machine and an excellent passer who ranks second on the Pacers in assists.

The C's would need to shed a lot of salary to bring him in, but the 6-foot-11 Sabonis would form a tantalizing frontcourt duo with Robert Williams while giving Boston a quality scorer, rebounder and playmaker to augment the Jays.

De'Aaron Fox, PG, Sacramento Kings

Age: 25

2021-22 stats: 21.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 5.2 apg, 45.8% FG, 32.7% 3PT

Current contract: Five years, $163M (expires 2026)

Fox isn't a perfect fit for Boston: He's a career 31.4% 3-point shooter and is a defensive liability. If you want a playmaking point guard for the Jays, though, Fox is near the top of the list. The 6-foot-3 speedster notched career highs in assists (7.2) and free-throw attempts (7.2) last season, proof that he can both facilitate an offense and create his own.

Would the C's be willing to pay Fox over $30 million per year through 2026? Seems doubtful. But as long as the Kings are in the NBA basement, we can dream of a Fox-Tatum-Brown trio.

Buddy Hield, G, Sacramento Kings

Age: 29

2021-22 stats: 14.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.0 apg, 38.6% FG, 37.6% 3PT

Current contract: Four years, $94M (expires 2024)

The Celtics need shooting, and despite his 4-for-14 effort in Boston the other night, Hield can provide it. The Bahamas native is a career 40.2% 3-point shooter who can give you 15 points per game off the bench while playing serviceable defense.

While he'd still cost Boston over $20 million per year, he's a more realistic target than Fox and would address a major issue for Stevens' club.

Derrick White, G, San Antonio Spurs

Age: 27

2021-22 stats: 14.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 5.6 apg, 41.9% FG, 29.6% 3PT

Current contract: Four years, $70M (expires 2025)

Shooting isn't White's forte, but he makes a lot of sense for the Celtics otherwise. The five-year veteran is putting up career assist numbers and also is San Antonio's best defender with a 0.108 defensive win share.

White is on a decent contract, as well, and is familiar with former Spurs assistant Ime Udoka. He'd be an intriguing option for Boston if the team can land him while keeping its "core" intact.

Jalen Brunson, G, Dallas Mavericks

Age: 25

2021-22 stats: 15.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 5.6 apg, 50.1% FG, 33.8% 3PT

Current contract: Four years, $6.1M (expires 2022)

Brunson is enjoying a breakout season in Dallas, shooting over 50% from the floor with strong assist numbers. If the Celtics were to trade Dennis Schroder, Brunson would be a great replacement, and he's making just $1.8 million on the final year of his rookie deal.

The one complication is that Brunson reportedly is seeking a four-year, $80 contract next offseason. So, the C's would have to like him a lot to keep him around for longer than a few months.

Kevin Huerter, G, Atlanta Hawks

Age: 23

2021-22 stats: 11.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.9 apg, 46.1% FG, 36.2% 3PT

Next contract: Four years, $65M (kicks in next season; runs through 2026)

The C's and Hawks reportedly explored a Huerter trade earlier this month, so it sounds like Boston has interest in the 2018 first-round pick, who turned heads last postseason with a strong series against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Huerter would give the Celtics a solid offensive option on the second unit and is an effective, versatile defender at 6-foot-7. If he continues to improve, $16.3 million per year could be solid value.

Duncan Robinson, G/F, Miami Heat

Age: 27

2021-22 stats: 12.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.5 apg, 40.2% FG, 36.6% 3PT

Next contract: Five years, $90M (expires 2025; early termination option for 2025-26)

Robinson is in a bit of a shooting slump this season, but he's still among the NBA's leaders in made threes per game (3.2, ninth). The New England native and Williams College alum is one of the league's premier 3-point threats and has made great strides as a defender, lowering his defensive rating from 108.3 to 106.8 this season.

It seems unlikely a contender like Miami would move on from Robinson, but his recent dip in playing time has led to some rumblings that the Celtics may want to monitor.

Jalen Smith, F/C, Phoenix Suns

Age: 21

2021-22 stats: 6.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 0.7 bpg, 46.7% FG, 21.9% 3PT

Next contract: Four years, $19.3M (expires 2022; 2022-23 club option declined)

The Celtics reportedly have done some "due diligence" on Smith, the Suns' 10th overall pick in 2020 who has yet to pan out in Phoenix.

Smith would be a project, but the 6-foot-10 big man has plenty of raw talent and perhaps could be an understudy to the budding Robert Williams.

Justin Holiday, G/F, Indiana Pacers

Age: 32

2021-22 stats: 10.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 1.7 apg, 40.8% FG, 37.2% 3PT

Next contract: Three years, $18M (expires 2023)

The eldest Holiday brother doesn't move the needle too much, but he could be had for cheap: HoopsHype's Michael Scotto reports the Pacers are seeking two second-round picks for Holiday.

The nine-year NBA veteran is an above-average 3-point shooter who could give the Celtics solid bench minutes if they opt to move on from a veteran like Schroder or Josh Richardson.