Trade winds swirl ahead of Celtics-Hawks matchup
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BOSTON -- Two teams with different perspectives on the upcoming NBA trade deadline get together when the floundering Atlanta Hawks visit the Boston Celtics on Friday night.
With the deadline a week away, the Celtics (37-15) could have an eye on adding a player or two and could use an $8.4 million salary exemption resulting from Gordon Hayward's injury to get what they need.
The Hawks (15-36) are at the other end of the spectrum and will be looking to move players out as part of their rebuild.
Celtics president Danny Ainge said Thursday that he's 'pretty sure" he will be using the exemption granted to his team after Hayward was lost in the first quarter of his first game with his new team.
Adding to the Boston need for an infusion are both a 3-5 record in the last eight games and injuries to the current roster.
Kyrie Irving missed Wednesday night's blowout win over the New York Knicks with a bruised quadricep and will sit out again Friday against Atlanta. Marcus Smart remained out because of a hand laceration suffered when he struck a picture frame in his Los Angeles hotel room.
Marcus Morris, who had a big game Wednesday, landed on his tailbone, Al Horford is just back from his latest head injury and Terry Rozier is playing on a sore ankle.
Hayward may or may not make it back for a playoff run, but he is not being counted on.
The Celtics have been linked to a possible trade for Tyreke Evans and also have Greg Monroe -- bought out by the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday -- on their radar.
Rozier stepped in for Irving on Wednesday and became the second player since starting lineups were being tracked in 1970 to record a triple-double in his first career start -- the first to do it in a regulation game.
"He's got high confidence. He's a dog," Morris said of Rozier. "He can get after people, score or he can dish it."
Irving has owned the Hawks in his 20-game career against them. His 26.0 scoring average against Atlanta is his third highest against any team -- and he had 65 points in the Celtics' two wins in Atlanta earlier this season.
There was no word on the status of the injured players.
The Hawks, losers of four of their last five, fell at home to the Charlotte Hornets (and former Hawk) Dwight Howard) on Wednesday.
The names Kent Bazemore and Dennis Schroder have been floated out there in terms of the deadline and right now it's just a team floating in NBA purgatory. Atlanta trails the Orlando Magic by a half-game at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
The Celtics and Hawks have had some bad blood between them in the recent past, but you have to wonder how much fight the Hawks have left inside them.
Schroder injured his right shoulder during Wednesday's game and was on the bench with it wrapped in at the end of the third quarter. He was able to return to the game in the fourth.
"I don't know how it happened," he said. "I'm going to check it with the trainers and see what's going on."
He was listed as questionable for Friday night's game.
The Celtics scored 110 points in both of the earlier victories, winning 110-107 and 110-99.
Updated February 2, 2018