BY GALEN CAMPBELL MARCH 22, 2021 6:40PM

Going into Monday and coming off of a 16 point win yesterday against the Orlando Magic, the Boston Celtics have come out on the wrong side of the standings, losing four of six, with a .500 record (21-21), good for sixth in the East and 8 ½ games out of first place.

So, while we are quickly approaching another trade-deadline (come Thursday), it is fair to question whether the Celtics should go “all-in” for a big.

Rumors have been picking up around Boston in search of a big and with the $28.5M trade exception in Danny’s back pocket, it is a valuable asset that could help seal a deal in the coming days if they like a guy like Aaron Gordon? But the larger question is whether or not with the inconsistencies all season and a team that has had trouble finding its identity (on the court collectively)… Is it worth Ainge playing his final ace for a team that COULD make a run? Or just as easily fall out of it, or be one-and-done in the playoffs.

According to Kevin O’Connor of the Ringer, the Celtics are reportedly pursuing Orlando’s Aaron Gordon.  The timing is interesting because this report comes out hours after Gordon informed the Magic earlier this morning, requesting a trade.  The Magic are reportedly looking for a “mix of young players and first-round picks” in return for Gordon, which the C’s could figure out with guys like Romeo Langford and Aaron Nesmith going back in return.  The other equation to pulling off the deal is Aaron’s contract.  Gordon is on the books for $18.1M this season.  The Celtics could absorb all of it and go into the tax, or stay out of the tax and send $3 million back in a potential deal.

If not Aaron Gordon, then who? John Collins, O’Connor is also reporting.  Boston, Sacramento, Dallas, Detroit and the Timberwolves are all expressing “significant trade interest” in the big man.  John Collins, is an athletic big man, who can shoot it from the arc – something the Celtics live-and-die-by on a nightly basis.  He would most likely be the ideal fit in Boston with his shooting range and with his skill set, running a steady dose of the pick-and-pop-game, with their current wing scorers, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.

Also, per Kevin O’Connor:

Boston’s pursuit of Collins also involves another key Hawks rotation player, according to league sources: Bogdan Bogdanovic, whom the Celtics had some trade discussions about while he was in Sacramento. If the Hawks were to acquire Ball, maybe moving Bogdanovic would make some sense. Both Collins, 23, and Bogdanovic, 28, fit the timeline of All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who are 23 and 24 yet are good enough to compete now.

Boston once had a treasure chest to die for with the highway robbery of the Nets back in 2013.  Fast forward eight-years later and it is all played out (not the way Ainge drew it up) and there is not much to show for that great trade for the C’s on the court.  So, Boston is left with one last chance to make the most of it and all the pressure is on Danny on when to strike? It looks like we may be inching closer and closer one way or another to finding out that answer.  If he makes a deal, then he believes in this team.  But if he doesn’t… Danny will take the TPE into the off-season and he will focus on 2022 and beyond.  Which will it be?