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NBA trade news: Celtics owner drops major hint ahead of February deadline | Other | Sport

The Celtics were hotly tipped to win the Eastern Conference at the start of the season, but at the halfway stage it hasn’t exactly panned out as hoped.

They currently occupy fifth and are four-and-a-half games back from leaders Milwaukee Bucks.

The Toronto Raptors have looked a dominant force, as have the Philadelphia 76ers, while the Indiana Pacers have been the surprise package in the East.

It looks like the postseason in the Eastern Conference could be as tight as ever with any one of the top five teams in with a shout of making the NBA Finals.

Boston will still fancy their chances with a roster consisting of Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford and Jaylen Brown.

But Grousbeck states he has already held talks with Danny Ainge about a possible trade before the deadline next month.

“What we’ll do over the next month is determine if there’s anything we can do in February [prior to the trade deadline] to advance the team to a new level,” Grousbeck told the Boston Globe.

“But when I look at the team right now, I feel really good about their character, really good about their skill, really good about the upside over the next 5-6 years, with young players and the draft.

“I feel overall confident and excited we can make some noise over the next five-six years with this core group, adding on when we can.

“But this season still does feel like a work in progress, and it feels like we’ve got a long way to go if we want to make some noise in May again, or even in June.”

He added: “I certainly looked at the team on paper this summer and said, ‘I’m pretty excited.’

“But they don’t give out paper trophies.

“I think the first part of this year has been obviously up and down and a bit challenging to get through.

“Some of the games have been flat; others have been pretty special.

“I just went this morning and with Danny [Ainge] and sort of reviewed the team, A-to-Z, and some of the statistics come out more positively than a casual fan might think.

“We’re a top-10 offense, top-five defense, and rank top 10 in rebounding as well.”

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