TORONTO — By the time he reached the podium following Saturday’s East team All-Star practice, Carmelo Anthony was already tired of this most recent trade deadline frenzy.

A New York Daily News report had the Knicks star going to Cleveland as part of a three-team deal that also had the Celtics getting Kevin Love. Anthony shook his head.

“It sucks. I’m tired of these rumors – I’m tired of it, man,” he said. “The Knicks? I don’t know where that rumor came from. I don’t talk to them about that. But it’s always something.”

From the perspective of a league source close to the Celtics, a three-way deal never existed.

According to the source, the Celtics have indeed had occasional talks with Cleveland about Love, haven’t discussed the subject of Dwight Howard in Houston, and remain very interested in finding a deal for the right price. But the price has been key – it’s been prohibitive for all the potential targets on the market.

Atlanta center Al Horford, another big name that has been attached to the Celtics, falls into that group – with a price tag that represents steep risk for a player who is about to become a free agent. Denver’s Danilo Gallinari – who has intrigued Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge – was a dead issue well before those talks were reported.

Asked whether the team is increasingly reluctant to part with its collection of first-round picks from Brooklyn – 2016, the right to swap picks in 2017, and finally 2018 – the source said: “Not likely, sure.”

Indeed, the Celtics’ recent success considered, they do not feel an urgency to get something done by Thursday’s deadline, though David Lee and his $15.5 million contract must be burning a hole in Ainge’s pocket.

The source said that the Celtics “do not feel that they have to do anything. Sure they’d like to do something. Every team wants to, but first you have to find something that works with a trade partner.

“It’s crazy, though – even the (rumors) that have touched on something that was discussed don’t come close to any of the specifics.”

Lee, who has fallen out of Coach Brad Stevens’ rotation, and would welcome a move to a playoff team that has a role for him, is not drawing suitors.

“David Lee was tough for Golden State to move all of last year,” the source said.

“And it finally came down to him being moved for Gerald Wallace. David Lee has no value. It’s his contract. David Lee’s value comes in if they get one of these big name players.”


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