via Sean Deveney
Celtics forward Brandon Bass was nearly traded once this season—to the Rockets, in a deal that would have brought back Houston center Omer Asik—and sources have told Sporting News that Bass remains the most-discussed player on the Boston roster ahead of next Thursday’s trade deadline.
Bass is a veteran big man with playoff experience, averaging 10.9 points and 5.9 rebounds this season. He has a reasonable contract, which pays him $6.5 million this year and $6.9 million next year.
“He is a good fit in a lot of places,” one league executive said. “He can start, he can come off the bench, he can make shots, he can play center against small lineups. A lot of teams need a guy like that.”
Rival executives say the rebuilding Celtics could be among the busiest teams at the trade deadline, at least in terms of phone calls logged. Boston would be willing to make a deal for just about any player on the roster, though there are no plans to trade point guard Rajon Rondo without an overwhelming offer. There has been discussion about Jeff Green, too, but his contract (two more years at $19 million total) makes him difficult to move.
But Bass’ manageable contract and ability to chip in for a contender makes him the most likely Celtic to be shipped out by next Thursday, and the group of teams that has expressed interest in Bass is, “a pretty wide range,” according to a league source.
Among the teams interested in Bass, sources told Sporting News, are the Warriors, who still have trade exceptions from the summer deal that sent Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins to Utah. Backup forward Marreese Speights has been a disappointment this season, averaging 5.7 points on just 40.8 percent shooting, and the team misses the production it got from Carl Landry off the bench last year.
The Warriors don’t have a pick in this year’s draft to offer Boston, but could absorb his contract and do have a combination of young players that includes injured center Festus Ezeli, as well as rookies Nemanja Nedovic and Ognjen Kuzmic.
Such a deal could push the Warriors over the luxury tax threshold, and there is some question about whether the team would cross that line. To avoid the tax, the Warriors would have to unload Speights, who is owed $3.66 million next season.
But in the offseason, owner Joe Lacob told Sporting News, “I don’t want to pay the luxury tax, nobody wants to. That’s why it is a luxury tax, it is very punitive. But if it means winning vs. not winning, I choose winning. So that’s not an issue.”