Cs trade opens door for small deal

At best, the Celtics’ trading of Sam Cassell to Sacramento Tuesday will open a door for a trade to bolster the team’s bench before Thursday’s trade deadline.

The Celtics sent the veteran guard to the Kings for a conditional second-round pick and cash considerations. The move dropped Boston’s roster to 14, one under the maximum. While Celtics president Danny Ainge said no trade is imminent, the franchise is open to a deal to aid their bench. Needs include a big man and possibly a scoring guard.

“Refining our bench is what we’re trying to accomplish,” said Ainge.

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Ainge told Cassell, who is expected to be waived by Sacramento, of the trade yesterday. The 16-year NBA veteran did not play in one game for Boston this season, but averaged 4.5 points and 1.2 assists in 12.6 minutes per game during the 2008 NBA playoffs in which the Celtics won their NBA-record 17th title. The 39-year-old still has interest in playing and has coaching aspirations as well.

“I thanked Sam for what he has done helping our young guys, sharing knowledge and being a part of our team,” Ainge said.

The Sacramento Bee reported that the Kings are going to make about $340,000 on the trade and would like Cassell to join the team. A source close Cassell said he wasn’t interested in playing for the Kings since they aren’t a playoff contender.

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