There was talk that Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett could have been dealt earlier this week. But with the trade deadline passed, the two future Hall of Famers will still be wearing Boston Celtics green.
Third-year guard Jordan Crawford will soon get his first chance to do that.
Crawford could make his Celtics debut on Friday night in Phoenix, where the Western Conference-worst Suns could have a few of their newest players in uniform.
Pierce said after Wednesday’s 113-99 road loss to the Los Angeles Lakers that he hadn’t talked to general manager Danny Ainge about any trade rumors involving him.
“I can’t worry about that,” said Pierce, who finished with a team-high 26 points. “I’ve got a job to do and they’ve got to do what’s best for the franchise. I’ve always understood that this is just a business.”
Ainge didn’t move Pierce or Garnett, who would have had to waive his no-trade clause, before Thursday’s deadline. Instead, Ainge pulled the trigger on a deal that sent center Jason Collins and recently injured guard Leandro Barbosa (ACL) to Washington for Crawford, who had fallen out of favor with the Wizards.
Crawford, though, is a big-time offensive threat with 12 20-point games this season. He averaged 19.1 points in 13 December games when John Wall was sidelined with an injury. Crawford will be able to play at either guard spot for coach Doc Rivers.
“Jordan’s a scorer and he will provide versatility that will add great depth to our roster,” Ainge said Thursday in an official press release.
The Celtics (28-26) need all the help they can get on the road, where they are 8-17. The Celtics, 0-2 on a season-high five-game trip, have lost all seven games visiting West opponents this season by an average of 16.7 points.
That could change on Friday against the lowly Suns, who are looking to bounce back from their ninth setback in 12 games, Wednesday’s 108-98 loss at Golden State.
News broke earlier that Phoenix sent a second-round draft pick to Houston for forward Marcus Morris, who joins his older twin brother, Markieff, on the Suns’ roster.
The two former Kansas teammates will be the second set of twins to play together in the NBA, joining Dick and Tom Van Arsdale, who were on the Suns in 1976-77.
“I think it will help both of those guys,” coach Lindsey Hunter told the Suns’ official website. “Any time you have your sibling it’s a comfort level you have with that person. Hopefully they can push each other and keep one another going when things are going well.”
Still, the Suns (18-37) aren’t expecting this move – or any other one – to immediately fix what has been one of the worst seasons in team history.
“We just have to show some of the new guys what to do. It takes time,” swingman Jared Dudley said. “We’ve already made one trade and through free agency and the draft you’ll start to see our new identity forming soon.”
The Suns also sent backup point guard Sebastien Telfair, who had fallen behind rookie Kendall Marshall in Hunter’s rotation, to Toronto on Thursday for a 2014 second-round pick and 7-2 center Hamed Haddadi.
Despite Garnett being the only Celtics starter in double-figure scoring (10 points), the host Celtics defeated the Suns 87-79 on Jan. 9.
Phoenix has won two straight and five of six at home in this series.