A reputable source has reported that SAC may be open to trading Willie Cauley-Stein. They are also reporting that the Celtics are interested in Cauley-Stein. The young center was a top 10 pick for the Kings the year before last.

Rumor vs. Speculation

A couple recent trade rumors came under fire recently. It is important to know the difference between rumor and speculation. Trade speculation is perfectly harmless and fun.

However, sometimes an innocent local blogger speculates on a possible, plausible trade. Then that speculation gets regurgitated over and over until it starts being reported as if it was an actual rumor.

This is different then when a reporter hears something from an agent or a team source about an NBA team having interest in a player, and then reports it. That interest may never materialize, but the rumor is still legitimate. That is the case here, when it comes to Willie Cauley-Stein and the Celtics interest in him.

The Source

Matt Moore of CBS Sports wrote this back on November 12th:

So throw WCS alongside Rudy Gay and Ben McLemore on the trade block for the Kings. It’s shocking because Cauley-Stein showed last year he’s a talented rim runner who brings length and athleticism. A lot of teams could really use him, and if he’s a sweetener on a Rudy Gay deal instead of Koufos, that only makes it better considering his young age.Several teams, including the Celtics and Bulls, could use a player with Cauley-Stein’s profile, but those are purely speculative fits. The Kings haven’t had any luck moving Gay or McLemore for quite some time, so you wonder what they would want in return for a former top 10 pick.

This makes sense. First of all, the Kings have a wealth of talent at the Center position with DeMarcus Cousins, Kosta Koufos, Cauley-Stein, and Georgios Papagiannis. They also have a new head coach in Dave Joerger. Joerger wasn’t a part of the regime that drafted Cauley-Stein. The idea that the Kings could be looking to move on from him makes sense, and was reported by a reputable journalist.

Pre-Draft Interest

Danny Ainge is known for getting his man. He famously called Isaiah Thomas on the first night of free-agency, before Thomas ended up with the Phoenix Suns. He was able to get his man later, when he traded Marcus Thornton and a future first round pick for the stud scoring point-guard.

Well, could Danny be looking to do something similar with Cauley-Stein? The Celtics ended up drafting Terry Rozier 2 off-seasons ago. However, leading up to the draft many media outlets were reporting that Danny was looking to move up in the draft.

A. Sherrod Blakley even indicated that the target may have been Willie Cauley-Stein.

Two league sources told CSNNE.com Friday that the Boston Celtics are “very open” to moving up in next month’s NBA draft.

And while the sources did not indicate which player Boston was targeting, there are growing signs that they have their sights set on trying to draft Kentucky big man Willie Cauley-Stein.

Trade Speculation

None of these reports who exactly would be exchanged in this hypothetical trade. Which leaves it up to us to speculate. Sportrageous.com points out that Rozier and Young would work on the trade machine, however would that package work for Sacramento and Boston?

Rozier has flashed some talent, but hasn’t consistently broken through. He played well in the post-season last year and performed well in the most recent Summer League and pre-season. James Young looks like he might be finally ready to perform at the NBA level. Although, if I were an NBA GM, Young would have little to no value in my mind until he became a consistent contributor over a decent period of time.

Cauley-Stein had a promising rookie campaign, where he averaged 7. 0 points per game, 5. 3 rebounds per game, and 1. 0 blocks per game in 21. 4 minutes per game. Sacramento might want more in return for a player they used a lottery pick on only 2 off-seasons ago.

Nothing Imminent, but Keep an Eye on it

For what it’s worth, nobody has reported that anything is imminent or even that there have been preliminary talks. The reports suggest Sacramento is open to moving the player, and that Boston is one of the teams interested. That is it. However, given past reports of interest and Sacramento’s log jam at the Center position, I’d suggest keeping an eye on this one.