Marc Stein, ears always to the ground, has some updated trade chatter here. Stein’s piece jibes well with those of other plugged-in league observers. We’ve got two weeks to go before the Feb. 18 deadline, but some common themes are starting to come together. I think we can begin to make some definitive conclusions about the trade market and Boston’s place in it:
• The 76ers are not trading Andre Iguodala to anyone unless the deal also involves Sam Dalembert or Elton Brand. (Sorry, Brendan)
• The Bulls are not trading Luol Deng without getting an asset other than cap relief in return;
• Kirk Hinrich and John Salmons are available. I would be shocked if the Celtics had not already contacted Chicago about one or both of them, and several outlets have reported that the C’s have inquired about Hinrich;
• The Celtics will NOT give up Ray Allen in any deal with the Bulls centering around Hinrich or Salmons. This should be obvious, but the Chicago Sun-Times (citing no sources of any kind, not even anonymous ones) gave this notion some credence it doesn’t deserve. If the C’s go for either play, they will offer a combination of expiring deals and wait out Chicago, hoping no contender offers anything better. Boston will only give up Allen for an impact player, and there just aren’t many of those that a) work under the cap; b) are available.
• The Celtics are not the Yankees (or the Red Sox). Just because the team was willing to spend more than $85 million on player salaries and pile up a mammoth luxury tax bill this season does not mean the ownership is willing to do so in perpetuity. This is particularly true given louder and louder rumblings that the NBA owners are going to push for a hard salary cap or a lower soft cap in upcoming collective bargaining negotiations with the players. You can’t just sign the C’s up for paying Monta Ellis and Corey Maggette $20M combined through 2014. Real life doesn’t work that way, even though the trade machine does.
What else can we assume at this point?