Could the Celtics be targeting Nerlens Noel?

The Celtics reportedly interviewed Nerlens Noel at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago in May. (Getty Images)
The Celtics reportedly interviewed Nerlens Noel at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago in May. (Getty Images)

As each day passes it’s becoming less and less likely that Doc Rivers will return to the Boston Celtics for a 10th season as its head coach.

The Celtics appear set to trade their highly respected coach in exchange for a package centered around Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan. Jordan averaged 8.8 points per game and 7.2 rebounds per game last season for LA but is believed to have All-Star caliber potential. Jordan was a 2008 second round draft choice out of Texas A&M and can jump out of the building.

Kevin Garnett is expected to be the other piece of the deal that could accelerate the rebuilding process for Boston. Guard Eric Bledsoe could be the holdup for the Clippers in any potential deal as LA wants to have an insurance policy if star point guard Chris Paul leaves the team via free agency on or after July 1.
The Clippers reportedly rejected a deal this weekend in which the Celtics asked for Jordan, Bledsoe and two draft picks in exchange for Rivers and Garnett. The Celtics may hold out in dealing Paul Pierce in a separate deal.

One rebuilding route the Celtics may be interested in exploring is compiling as many draft picks as possible before the June 27 NBA Draft in order to move up in the draft, a strategy the Houston Rockets attempted last year.

A few heads turned in May when the Celtics interviewed Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel, an Everett, Mass. native, at the Chicago combine. Typically, high prospects such as Noel – who is expected to be selected No. 1 or No. 2 overall – are only interviewed by lottery teams. For the Celtics to move that far up the draft, however, they would likely have to part with point guard Rajon Rondo as well.


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