As the National Basketball Association approaches its Feb. 1 trading deadline, a number of teams appear on the verge of making major deals. Among them are Milwaukee and the defending world champion Boston Critics.

The Celtics are desperate. They need a guard badly. They were about to sign Dean Meminger, but the New York Knicks beat them to it.

The Celtics now reportedly are hot after Mike Newlin of the Houston Rockets. A problem is that Boston does not have any players it can afford to give up in trade.

The Celtics have been thin at guard all season and when Charlie's Scott broke his arm last week the weakness became glaring. The Celtics are struggling to be a 500 team and some of the moves coach Tom Heinsohn is making have hints of panic.

Kevin Stacom was the third guard before Scott got hurt, but has provern wanting. So John Havlicek starts in the backcourt alongside Jo Jo White. But Havlicek does not like it there. He is not as quick as he used to be and has trouble keeping up on defense with quicker guards. He would much prefer to play forward.

Fred Saunders, another forward, has also helped out the backcourt.

White is starting to tire from doing the scoring, ball-handling and taking care of his defensive responsibility and is crying for help.