Could Celtics trade up with Hornets?

AP Photo/Chuck Burton

The Charlotte Hornets traded Lance Stephenson to the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night in a swap that gave them Matt Barnes and Spencer Hawes. Now there could be a trickle-down effect for the Boston Celtics.

In the aftermath of the trade, ESPN draft guru Chad Ford noted that the Hornets are high on Georgia State shooting guard R.J. Hunter, who is projected to be a mid- to late-first-round pick. Might the Hornets, who currently own the No. 9 pick, be interested in shuffling down if the Celtics could offer multiple picks in return?

Boston currently owns Nos. 16, 28, 33 and 45 picks in this year's draft. Ford on Twitter called the Celtics the "most logical trade partner" for a potential Hornets swap.

Our buddy Dangercart created a nifty trade value chart based on historical average draft value. His calculations suggest that Boston could get up toward the No. 9 pick (445 points on his scale) by packaging Nos. 16 (300) and 28 (160) -- and Boston could always throw in No. 45 as a sweetener if they felt there was enough value at No. 9.

Celtics director of player personnel Austin Ainge conceded that value charts tend to vary by team and by draft. It comes down to how much value a team places on a certain pick. How the picks in the eight spots before the Hornets are on the clock unfold might ultimately determine Boston's interest.

What we know for certain is the Celtics front office has said it will explore all opportunities to make this team better. The notion of packaging picks to move up has long been speculated, with Boston's decision-makers agreeing it's unlikely the team would carry four rookies on an already young roster.

The Celtics are going to be rumored trade partners for any team in the top 10 that would entertain the idea of shuffling back into the midteens and adding more picks. Boston has given itself the luxury of exploring all those options by creating its surplus of draft picks.