Celtics’ potential trade targets

The NBA’s trade deadline is Thursday at 3 p.m., and the Celtics have been linked to several potential deals. Take a look at some of the players that Celtics personnel chief Danny Ainge may be considering taking on in a trade:

Michael Conroy/AP

Josh Smith, Hawks

  • The Celtics are one of a handful of teams rumored to be in on Smith, who is on the books for $13.2 million this season. One trade rumor has the Celtics salivating over Smith and willing to offer Brandon Bass and Jeff Green in return for the power forward. Yahoo! Sports reported that there is a strong belief Smith will be moved and listed the Celtics as one of a handful of possible destinations. Another scenario might be for the Celtics to sign Smith as a free agent in the offseason, but that move would require the Celtics to clear salary off the books beforehand.

Mark J. Terill/AP

Dwight Howard, Lakers

  • How’s this for a blockbuster rumor? Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak denied a report that he and Ainge have discussed sending Howard to the Celtics in exchange for the injured Rajon Rondo. Howard will be a free agent, so the potential deal would be a potential rental for the Celtics and a risk for the Lakers, who don’t know how quickly Rondo will recover from a torn ACL. There’s also the rather large issue of Howard’s ego.

Samuel Dalembert, Bucks

  • Dalembert was a prized free agent in 2011, signing a two-year deal with Houston. A trade to Milwaukee has led to a decrease in playing time this season, though the Bucks have been using their center more of late, possibly to increase his trade value. Dalembert's price would be less than some of the other players on this list and, given that his contract is up after the season, his acquisition would indicate the Celtics want to win now. He is exactly the kind of player Garnett was thinking of when he talked about someone who could help the team in the short term.

Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP

J.J. Redick, Magic

  • Redick’s name has been floated in Celtics trade rumors because the former Duke product fits the bill of something Boston needs. Redick is a standout shooter who can provide scoring off the bench. He’s also 6-feet-4-inches tall and a better defender than he gets credit for. Orlando would like to move him only if they can improve their team for the future, and it’s not sure if there’s a trade match here, especially considering the improved play of Courtney Lee and Jason Terry of late.

Timofey Mozgov, Nuggets

  • Mozgov hasn’t gotten the playing time (10.3 minutes per in 29 games) he was hoping for this season, and his expiring contract could make him an attractive trade piece. He’s a true center at 7-feet-1-inch and could provide help for the Celtics on the front line, a position of weakness. Mozgov has never averaged more than 5.4 points and 4.1 rebounds in a season.

Ben Gordon, Bobcats

  • The money may be prohibitive, but Gordon fits the mold of a scorer off the bench that could give the Celtics an extra boost on a playoff run. Gordon is averaging 12.9 points in 22 minutes per game this season, and he’s drawn interest from the Nets, who are looking to make a playoff run themselves.

Jim Mone/AP

Eric Bledsoe, Clippers

  • The most public rumor concerning the Celtics revolved around Garnett and Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe. Swapping Garnett for Bledsoe and another piece or two would be a sign that the Celtics are throwing in the towel for this season and looking toward the future. Bledsoe is a good player, and if teammate DeAndre Jordan was included in the deal, the Celtics would gain two building blocks. Losing Garnett, however, would pretty much take the Celtics out of contention this season. Garnett has also said he will not waive his no-trade clause to go to Los Angeles.

Al Jefferson, Jazz center

  • Jefferson was the key piece in the trade that brought Garnett to the Celtics in 2007. He's one of the best offensive big men in the game, though his defensive rating has been among the worst in the league this season. Still, he'd provide help for Garnett, and Utah might be willing to part with him with a logjam at power forward knowing that they can’t re-sign everyone next year.

Jack Dempsey/AP

Kevin Love, Timberwolves power forward

  • This one is kind of a pipe dream, but the NBA's premier rebounder can opt out of his contract after next season. Minnesota could be tempted to trade Love and get something for him rather than lose him outright, considering they're not a contender at this point. Would you swap a healthy Rondo for Love in the fall? That’s the kind of move that could inspire some serious debate come November, when Love should be healthy as well.

Marcin Gortat, Suns center

  • Gortat is a big man with a mean streak. The 6-foot-11 center would give the Celtics the muscle they're seeking down low, though Boston would likely need to part with a key piece to get him. True centers are rare in today's NBA, and Gortat's value is high.

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