The Detroit Pistons and Boston Celtics are at opposite ends of the Eastern Conference standings, as Boston has the best record in the NBA and Detroit is at the bottom of the conference.
The two teams are old rivals but it’s been awhile since they played a game against each other that mattered, something the Pistons hope to change soon.
The Detroit Pistons are likely to be sellers at the deadline if they make any moves, though The Athletic did name them as a possible buyer in one situation.
The Celtics really don’t have to do anything at the trade deadline, as they have the best record in the league and look poised to make another run to the NBA Finals.
But according to Bleacher Report, they would love to add some insurance behind their two centers:
"“The Boston Celtics are in the market for a big, league sources tell Bleacher Report.The defending Eastern Conference champs are seeking to add injury insurance behind Robert Williams III and Al Horford, two players they have to carefully manage during the regular season.”"
The Detroit Pistons would seemingly have the perfect candidate in Nerlens Noel, who is not playing much for Detroit and would give the Celtics a veteran with a known skillset to keep under glass in case of emergency.
While a deal seems like it could benefit both teams, there are complications.
Detroit Pistons: Trading Nerlens Noel to the Celtics won’t be easy
Both Noel and the Detroit Pistons have come to the conclusion that moving him would probably be best for everyone involved, but as I’ve written before, it won’t be easy to trade him.
The first reason is that Noel may be washed. After all, he can’t even crack the rotation of one of the worst teams in the NBA, a team that has also had injury issues at center. The Pistons have played Hamidou Diallo at center at times rather than dust off Noel, so teams may not even want him, and certainly aren’t going to give up anything of value to get him.
Even if they were willing to give up a second-round pick, Noel is making $9.2 million this season and teams like the Celtics really don’t have the contracts to match in a trade. They would need to combine two contracts like Grant Williams and Danilo Gallinari and there is no way that Boston is going to give up a rotation player for Noel, even if it got them out from Gallinari’s contract, one which the Pistons would be loathe to take on considering it runs for another year and he hasn’t even played this season.
It’s far more likely that the Detroit Pistons come to some kind of buy-out agreement with Noel, in which case he can join whatever team he likes, including the Celtics, who could use him, but aren’t going to give up anything to get him.