The Boston Celtics have been mentioned all summer in NBA trade rumors and with good reason. The Celtics’ general manager, Danny Ainge, isn’t called “Trader Dan” for nothing. It’s common knowledge that he’s been working the phones for weeks trying to make the moves to put his team in the Eastern Conference Championship conversation.
According to Morning News USA, the Celtics are currently inquiring about Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap. The Hawks are in a transition period after Al Horford and Jeff Teague moved on to other teams during the offseason. Atlanta seems willing to begin a rebuilding phase with younger players, and Paul Millsap would be a tremendous trade asset to help execute that plan. NBA pundit David Ramil adds that there are other reasons the Atlanta Hawks are shopping Millsap.
“Millsap’s current contract has two years left but includes a player option at the end of the upcoming season,” Ramil explained. “Millsap, potentially feeling burned by a team actively trying to trade him, could test free agency and could abandon Atlanta, leaving them scrambling to find a suitable running mate alongside Dwight Howard. But, should Millsap choose to remain with Atlanta, things could become even stickier.”
Danny Ainge, of course, has more irons in the fire and is also putting out feelers for a possible trade involving Denver’s Kenneth Faried, as reported by Sportsrageous. The Denver Nuggets are known to have been trying to deal Faried all summer in an attempt to remake their current roster. Faried would be ideally suited to join a contending team, rather than be a primary option for a non-playoff team. The Nuggets are hoping to acquire some assets they can build a future with by trading Kenneth Faried.
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The Boston Celtics have already made a splash in free agency by signing former Hawks center Al Horford to a four-year, $113 million max contract. The Celtics are doing all they can to add a power forward to compliment Horford, including rumored discussions with the Los Angeles Clippers regarding Blake Griffin. The potential Griffin deal appears to be going nowhere, so Boston is now setting their sights on players like Millsap and Faried who are very good performers, but would also come much cheaper than Blake Griffin would have.
Paul Millsap came to the NBA with little fanfare as a second-round pick (47th overall) in the 2006 NBA Draft. He played in Utah for seven years, working his way up from a solid bench player to a dependable starter. In 2013, Millsap cashed in on his efforts by signing a lucrative free agent contract with Atlanta, and his career has taken off even further since joining the Hawks. Millsap has been an NBA All-Star for the past three seasons and is coming off perhaps his best season as a pro, averaging 17.1 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game in 2015-16.
Kenneth Faried is one of the most tenacious players in the NBA, and he has made a career out of all-out hustle and aggression. He isn’t a skilled offensive player, but he scores well off of loose balls and offensive rebounds. Faried posted per-game averages of 12.5 points and 8.7 rebounds last year, which are nearly identical to his career averages in those categories. Faried is consistent in both his effort and production and would be an outstanding addition to a playoff team looking to get over the hump.
In the NBA, trade rumors are often the result of teams like the Boston Celtics working hard behind the scenes to improve their rosters. Based on history, if anyone can pull off a deal for a quality power forward, it’s Danny Ainge.
[Photo by David Zalubowski/AP Images]