The Celtics continue to be the most discussed team in the NBA when it comes to making a monster trade prior to the Feb. 18 deadline.
Frank Isola, of the New York Daily News, wrote this week that the C's may be looking at acquiring center Dwight Howard from the Houston Rockets. Houston is just 26-25 this season and is starting at a first round playoff matchup with either the Warriors or Spurs (i.e. an early exit). But just a few weeks back, Rockets GM Daryl Morey at least said that he was confident that a Houston team with Howard could make some noise in the Western Conference playoffs.
"I know that when we make the playoffs … we'll definitely be one of the teams that no one wants to play," Morey told the Houston Chronicle (via CBS) on Jan. 17.
Trading Howard would be an acknowledgement that the Rockets aren't "in it to win it" this season.
The Celtics' best assets are draft picks and there's no way they'd relinquish one of their Nets picks in exchange for a declining Howard. If a highly unlikely Dwight to Boston deal were to go down, however, expect the Celtics to throw in their Dallas pick (protected 1-7 from 2016-2020, unprotected in 2021). As for players, something like this would work money-wise:
Jared Sullinger (1 year, $2.5 million), David Lee (1 year, $15.4 million), James Young (3 years, $1.7 million in exchange for Howard (2 years - player opt out this summer, $22.3 million).
Another longshot of a deal involves the Knicks' Carmelo Anthony. While the Knicks are slumping hard right now (23-28 and 3.5 games out in the Eastern Conference playoff chase), Anthony has had a terrific season and has meshed well with rookie Kristaps Porzingis. The only two places that would make sense for Carmelo to land are Boston and LA, with the Clippers. Again, Boston has draft picks that Phil Jackson covets and the Celtics are pushing hard for a "superstar." This past week's rumors that Blake Griffin is on the trading block could spark "Blake for Melo" talk as the Clippers are firmly in win-now mode and wouldn't mind taking a risk on the older Anthony.