The Boston Celtics might not make it into the playoffs this season, but Basketball Insiders' Alex Kennedy believes team president Danny Ainge has put the franchise in the perfect position to succeed in the future. With the NBA trade deadline looming, meanwhile, Ainge will likely shop veterans Brandon Bass and Marcus Thornton.
Boston (16-28) is only two-and-one-half games out from the East's No. 8 playoff seed, but that's due more to the East being a weak conference than to Boston's prowess on the court. Because of the myriad draft picks Boston has stockpiled and the young talent on Boston's roster, Kennedy believes the Celtics won't be in the dumps for long.
"Boston has a very bright future with all of the young players and picks they've stockpiled. It makes them a very intriguing team to watch," Kennedy wrote Wednesday. "They can either build through the draft and let their team develop over the next few years, or they can use those players and picks as trade assets (as Danny Ainge did back when he acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen).
"I love what Boston has done."
The Celtics are rebuilding for a future that likely doesn't have places for Bass and Thornton. Both veterans have been linked to trade rumors throughout the season, and all signs point to Boston pulling the triggers on deals for them if decent offers come before the Feb. 19 trade deadline.
Kennedy confirmed both players, along with veteran Tayshaun Prince, would likely be gone before the deadline.
"I think they'll continue to look at trades that bring in picks and prospects for veteran players," Kennedy wrote. "That means guys like Brandon Bass and Marcus Thornton could be moved to a team that's in win-now mode. I also think we'll see Tayshaun Prince bought out at some point."