NBA teams have little more than a month to finalize their trade deadline plans and put them into practice.
While the trade market is still taking shape, there's already some separation forming between buyers and sellers. In some cases, it's even becoming clear which clubs will operate on the extreme ends of basketball's swap-meet spectrum.
Things can get a little desperate out there as buyers pay significant prices for on-court assistance or sellers part with productive players for pennies on the dollar. But if the trades ultimately nudge the bottom line in the right direction, that's all that really matters in the end.
We're firing up the trade machines to see how some of those desperation deals might come together between now and March 25.
Celtics Add Depth, Thunder Gain Assets
Boston Celtics receive: George Hill and Trevor Ariza
Oklahoma City Thunder receive: Romeo Langford, Aaron Nesmith, Tristan Thompson, Jeff Teague and 2021 second-round pick
The Celtics are past the point of scuffling. What they're encountering now can only be characterized as a full-fledged struggle.
All advantages built up during Boston's 8-3 start have been erased. Since that point, the Celtics are tied for 23rd in winning percentage (.389) and 16th in net rating (minus-0.3).
Theoretically, Boston could play it slow and patiently keep building around 24-year-old Jaylen Brown and 22-year-old Jayson Tatum. But those up-and-comers look ready to lead a championship charge now—provided the rest of the roster can catch up. For that to happen, the Shamrocks must look outside the organization for help.
George Hill and Trevor Ariza could be perfect, assuming the latter would be ready to resume his career after a trade away from the Sooner State. The Celtics need consistency, experience and support shooting. Those two would provide all three.
Both have double-digit scoring averages over decade-plus careers. Hill is a career 38.4 percent three-point shooter. Ariza is at 36.2 percent since 2012-13. They have 229 total playoff appearances and 181 postseason starts between them. Slot them alongside Marcus Smart, Daniel Theis and Payton Pritchard, and Boston might finally have proper support for Brown, Tatum and Kemba Walker.
The Thunder, meanwhile, would take another step toward a brighter tomorrow.
Between Romeo Langford (14th pick in 2019) and Aaron Nesmith (14th in 2020), OKC should find at least one player who sticks with its long-term nucleus. The second-round pick would offer another throw at the dartboard.
Jeff Teague would be a buyout candidate, but Tristan Thompson, who's signed through next season, might have time to attract a center-needy shopper who'd put another asset in the Thunder's collection.