Serge Ibaka reacts during an NBA game this season.

NBA Trade Rumors: Will Boston Celtics Make A Trade Deadline Move?

Being in second place in the Eastern Conference standings is a big deal, but the Boston Celtics have a chance this season to continue their rebuild, and under head coach Brad Stevens, the team with 17 NBA Championships has a chance to make some noise before the trade deadline expires.

The Celtics have a nice roster of young players, a young head coach and are on the brink of becoming what they once were by contending in the Eastern Conference this season. One player possibly on the trade block that the Celtics should take a very close look at is forward Serge Ibaka of the Orlando Magic, who is a free agent this summer.

Imagine a roster in the Eastern Conference with Ibaka and Isaiah Thomas. How exciting of a team would that be? It might become a team that could challenge the likes of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors in the NBA Playoffs.

The Celtics should have the players on their roster needed to make a trade with the Magic or another franchise looking to trade a player headed for free agency this upcoming summer. Ibaka is averaging 14.9 points per game with 6.9 rebounds per game (plus 1.6 blocks per game), and the Magic aren’t going to be winning in the Eastern Conference this season.

One of the current Celtics power forwards is Amir Johnson, who this season averages 6.2 ppg in 19.2 minutes per game. For the Celtics to catch the Cavaliers this season, and especially compete with them in the playoffs as they are just two games back of Cleveland for first place in the East, an improvement at forward would be key.

The trade rumors about Ibaka are gaining momentum, with even Jay Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel quoting Ibaka about how he handles hearing all the trade rumors.

“I don’t want to think about that: the trade deadline. My focus is to play basketball right now. I don’t want to talk about that. I don’t want to think about it. I just focus on playing basketball. At the end, we’ll see what happens.”

Those are smart words, but those of us who do like to think about the trade deadline have to believe the Magic want to trade him to make sure they get the type of players they need to help build up their roster for future seasons, too.

Another player the Celtics have ben linked to during all the trade talk is Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls. A shooting forward, Butler is another nice fit for the Celtics in their pursuit of first place in the East. Butler is averaging nearly 25 ppg, 6.5 rpg and 4.8 assists per game in 48 games.

There are some executives in the NBA who believe the Celtics will take another look at Butler before the trade deadline occurs as Mike Cole of wrote about the Celtics trade situation.

“Acquiring a player like Butler, however, could be a major game-changer. The 27-year-old is just hitting his prime and is having arguably the best season of his career… the price to acquire Butler — compared even to a multiple-time All-Star like Anthony — would be high. That’s especially true considering Butler currently is signed through the 2019-20 season.”

It is very reasonable to believe the Celtics are going to have to make a move that will not only add to their roster, but a trade that will allow them to battle with the Cavs and Raptors when the games really matter in the playoffs. A trade for Ibaka or Butler would be for the present with the Celtics, and that is a bad thing.

It would be exciting to see a team actually challenge the Cavaliers in the playoffs this season, make a trade and become a real contender in the NBA once again.

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