Though team president Danny Ainge has publicly ridiculed the Allen trade reports, several NBA executives told CBSSports.com that the Celtics have been actively trying to parlay Allen’s $19.7 million expiring contract into an asset that could keep them in the mix during the upcoming playoffs and also help them for the next several seasons. The most recent inquiry, sources say, involved Sacramento sharpshooter Kevin Martin, who’d be a good fit with Boston’s remaining core. Kings officials might be talked out of their reluctance to deal Martin if they could pry a prolific big man out of a third team brought into the discussions or in a separate transaction before the deadline.[...]
“Danny has said, ‘I can’t go back to square one where we were prior to the Garnett deal,’” the person said. “At the All-Star break, they’re going to look in the mirror and say, ‘Cleveland got better, we can’t beat Orlando, and we can’t even beat the Hawks. We’re not going to win it this year.’”[...]
The Kings, who are not planning to be big free-agent shoppers this summer, aren’t seeking to acquire cap space alone. They want assets — and the Celtics don’t have a young big man to offer. The Bulls, who almost certainly will move Tyrus Thomas, might need to be invited into that conversation to satisfy everyone’s needs.