The dust has started to settle after one of the most active offseason weeks in NBA history. Despite the countless number of deals which went down in the past seven days, the Celtics stood quiet, which was particularly surprising to me, given Ainge’s propensity to make draft day moves in his past few years at the helm.
News is beginning to filter out that indicates that the C’s in fact were still attempting make a trade to move up in the 2nd round. First, The Memphis Commercial Appeal is reporting that the Celtics were one of numerous suitors for the Grizzlies 36th pick in the draft:
Boston tried to entice the Grizzlies twice. The Celtics offered Brian Scalabrine, Tony Allen and a choice of J.R. Giddens or Bill Walker for the Grizzlies’ 36th pick and cash considerations.
The Celtics’ best offer for the Grizzlies’ No. 2 pick only included center Kendrick Perkins.
Paul Flannery of WEEI.com confirms the C’s interest in the early 2nd round and throws out a couple names, the C’s had to have been surprised to see drop so far:
There were a number of intriguing players who fell into the second round and Ainge said he had discussions about moving up, but elected to stay put. Among those mentioned were former Big East stalwarts Sam Young and DeJuan Blair from Pitt and DaJuan Summers from Georgetown, who went in consecutive picks from 35-37.
Another name that apparently intrigued Ainge was St. Mary’s point guard Patrick Mills, who went three spots ahead of Boston to Portland.
Still, Ainge said he was happy to get Hudson saying, “We had him rated much higher.”
Now there are a couple of things that stick out to me from these reports.
1) Danny Ainge confirmed my suspicions on how he would try to make a deal. Here is an excerpt of what I wrote on June 18th regarding the problems Danny faced in making any deal during the draft or offseason.
The Celtics quite simply have NO signed assets on their bench. No one any other team would look at and think “Hey, they’d likely be a contributing member of our rotation.” or “Sure, that’s someone we’d be interested in dealing for” unless they got rid of some dead weight themselves in the deal from their roster.
Therefore, if Danny even wants to keep these other GM’s on the phone, he has to at least acknowledge the possibility he’s willing to part with one of his starting five even if he has no strong intentions of dealing them.
Over the course of trade talks, Danny turns down any deal involving the starting five, but during these talks manages to convince an opposing GM that a player like Tony Allen or Bill Walker could be a good “fit” on their roster and gets back a draft pick (think early 2nd round) and/or another insignificant but potentially serviceable player.
Given TA’s injury woes and the Celtics’ young bench players lack of floor time, convincing any team to bite on a deal involving them that still makes sense for the Celtics financially is a long shot. You never know though if Chris Wallace is involved.
Well Ainge laid the bait out there with his offer of Scal, TA, Walker/Giddens for the 36th pick, but the problem even Chris Wallace was smart enough to turn it down, simply because there is no way that deal does anything positive for a rebuilding Grizzlies team. They are all ready set at the 2 and 3 spots for the future with O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay manning those spots.
The Allen and Scal contracts are just added salary and expiring contracts, but really just are dead weight on a bad team like Memphis. Giddens or Walker could be appealing but neither of them has showed enough promise for Grizzlies to take the additional baggage in the offer AND give up a early 2nd round pick for the trio. So Danny swung and missed on this one, but I give him credit for trying while not giving up anything substantial.
2) The fact that the Celtics were unwilling to buy any of these picks tells me that Danny is saving any additional money that ownership gave him in the budget for this offseason until free agency. As indicated before, this was a weak draft, but there were a potential 1st round picks that fell deep into the 2nd round, (Blair, Summers, Patrick Mills). All evening, I was expecting the C’s to buy one of these picks, which were being sold left and right all night.
Danny’s inclination not to move up a few spots to grab someone like Patrick Mills indicates to me that enough players the C’s were targeting at the 58th spot had fallen far enough by the end of the 2nd round to guarantee the C’s at least one player they would be satisfied with. This reality eliminated the pressing need to buy a pick to get one of their guys.
Ainge’s quote about Lester Hudson says it all, “We had him rated much higher.” That revelation makes me feel much better about Hudson’s chances of contributing this year, despite the unimpressive history of players drafted at 58.
For now we wait until the next round of action starts this Wednesday July 1st with the onset of free agency. The C’s have their spending budget intact, and their foundation intact. On Wednesday, look for Danny to start making the moves that fills the holes that remained in place after an uneventful draft.