Post-game Reactions

With a couple seemingly minor moves in the NBA yesterday, the market for big men and especially Glen Davis just got a heck of a lot more interesting. Let’s break down the moves and see how they could potentially drive the price tag for Big Baby up which would go along with decreasing the likelihood the Celtics will be able to retain his services by matching a high priced offer.

Move #1: Detroit trades SG Aaron Afflalo, PF Walter Sharpe and cash to Denver for a future 2nd round pick.

The deal was made here for a couple simple reasons as far as the Pistons were concerned. First off with the signing of Ben Gordon, it created a crowded backcourt situation for the team with Richard Hamilton all ready signed long term. That reality created no major minutes left for Afflalo who was shipped out of town to help Denver replace Dhantay Jones who fled to Indiana for a 4 year 11 million dollar deal.

The second and more important reason the deal was made as far as the Celtics are concerned, was the additional cap space that was created for the Pistons with the trade. Afflalo and Sharpe’s salary combine to make up 1.8 million, and by not dealing for a player in return, that was the amount Joe Dumars was able to reduce the team’s number under the salary cap, which now stands at 4.9 million according to Dan Feldman over at PistonPowered.com.

By dealing Sharpe, this deal also left Detroit extremely thin on the front line, leaving it with only three players who could be considered as power forward/centers in Charlie Villanueva, Jason Maxiell, and Kwame Brown. Thus it seems Detroit will be going after one, if not two big man free agents out there and it has been widely reported that one of those players will be Glen Davis.

From the Celtics perspective, it can’t be encouraging for them to see Detroit stockpiling cap space, increasing the odds that they will make an offer to Davis that the C’s will be unwilling to match. The Celtics have been smart waiting it out with Big Baby thus far, trying to let a seemingly down market drive down Baby’s price and suitors as many teams (San Antonio, Orlando, Memphis) looked elsewhere to fill their big man needs.

According to Gary Tanguay, Danny Ainge has placed a dollar value on Big Baby’s worth. Last year we witnessed firsthand Danny’s reluctance to overpay for a role player in the form of James Posey. In my estimation, the signing of Rasheed Wallace made the need for the Celtics to bring back Big Baby a bit less pressing since Rasheed will be able to log major minutes at the 4 and 5 spots. If they have to overpay Davis (5 million over several years) to keep him here, Wallace in town made the chances of that happening a bit less likely.

More after the jump

The C’s are well over the luxury tax as it is, so it is clear that while the team does want to bring Baby back, they will only do it if the price is right. If the C’s don’t bring back Davis, there are still affordable free agent options out there at the big man spots albeit not ones as attractive as Davis. Realistically though whoever the C’s bring in as a fifth big man (Scalabrine being the 4th) would only have to go 10-15 minutes a game barring injury since Rasheed will eat up the bulk of the bench big man minutes.

Given the assumption that there are no major injury problems, (a realistic concern given KG and Rasheed’s age) it would be unwise for the C’s to invest too much money in the backup 4 spot when Glen’s minutes would be limited thanks to the depth chart.

It has to worry fans that want Big Baby back in green that Joe Dumars has shown the willingness to overpay at bit this offseason to get his guys (Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva). Now that he has the cap room to offer Big Baby a significant deal at a little under 5 million a year, if he does give Davis a long term contract at that number, the C’s will have to think long and hard about matching it. There are really no other big men on the open market right now that could command that kind of money, so it seems only a matter of time before Dumars makes Glen the big money offer he has been waiting for.

Numbers wise in my estimation, Glen is not worth the 5 million a year on this team and the team would be better served to sign a lower price short term alternative to fill Big Baby’s role. Perhaps, someone like a Joe Smith, Drew Gooden, or Rasho Nesterovic could fill Baby’s spot. Those guys are downgrades to be sure, but will be a lot cheaper and could be had for only a year or two commitment. Before we finish this up, let’s take a look at a 2nd move from Monday that could affect the C’s pursuit of those guys.

Move #2 Orlando Magic retain Marcin Gortat after matching the Mavericks’ 5 year/34 million offer sheet.

The loss of Gortat hurts the Mavs depth right now more than you might imagine. The non-signing and loss of Brandon Bass (4 years/18 million) to the Magic leaves the Mavs current roster with a very thin front line bench. After Dampier and Nowitzki it consists of Shawn Marion as a potential undersized 6th man at the 4 (he might start anyway over Howard) and a couple of throw-ins (Kris Humphries and Nathan Jawai) they received to make the salaries work in the Marion deal.

I mention this only because their need for big man could drive up the market for the big man free agents I mentioned earlier if the C’s were to lose Big Baby. Heck, they could even potentially get in on the Big Baby sweepstakes even though Mark Cuban denied they had any interest in him a few months back. With fewer options now, Cuban may have to reconsider although he could try to fill the void with a trade as well.

So I guess my question to everyone as I work through all these potential scenarios is what exactly is Big Baby worth to you? Zach Lowe took an eye opening look at Big Baby’s numbers and performance on the floor this past year, which should help everyone in coming to a conclusion.

Knowing that should ownership match a 5 million dollar offer at 3 plus years if it comes at the expense of better players to fill the backup small forward and point guard spots? Is Big Baby actually worth five million? What price tag would you put on him? And would you consider signing and trading Davis to fill a more pressing need (backup SF) on the team if it was likely you were going to lose him anyway? I’m curious to hear everyone’s opinion on this as it appears likely to shake itself out sooner than later.

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Brian Robb

Brian Robb co-founded CelticsHub in 2009 and is the currently editor-in-chief. He is a producer and reporter at 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston and also contributes to Boston.com and Bleacher Report among other outlets.
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  • Paul

    It would be nice to keep Davis for depth issues. What happens if any of the top three big men get hurt? Who will fill the minutes? Brian can play the four but what about the center position? Can a 1.9 or 1.3 million a year player do an adequate job?

    If the celtics don't match a five million dollar offer it is a business decision. The Celtics don't want to pay ten million a year for Big Baby. If we match any offer we would still maintain the veteran min salary and biannual exception.

  • Jay

    Baby would be a nice addition to our second string front court, but without him, we'll be ok. I'm not even completely opposed to the idea of having two shooting big men on the floor (wallace and Scal) it leaves us a bit thin in the paint, but wallace is an effective post player, I like the versatility in that lineup.

    So for that reason, the far more pressing matter is the backup SF/PG spots. SF is the biggest, let's be honest, Pierce look downright tired last year, and Tony Allen just can't command those reliable minutes to get him the rest he needs. Right now, I feel it's our biggest issue, PG is a sore spot, but since there's really not much left in the market, I'm resigned to settling for Pruitt right now, it's less of an issue for me, hell, maybe he'll even surprise us.

    Long story short, I'll miss ya Glen Davis, it's been real.

  • If we don't bring back Glen Davis we are shattering our chances at another championship. This is a franchise player as unorthodox as that sounds. If you can bring in two, possibly three, offensive threats in Wallace, Davis, and House off the bench the Celts will be difficult to beat; however, without David we will have a void in our second strong just like we had last year

  • sign baby. need youth.

  • Kyle

    If we sign Glen that will be perfect for the power forward spot. They could always throw Scal in at backup small forward. I know his defense isn't good but Bill Walker is having back problems so he may not feel well during the season. Why not put Eddie House in at the backuop point and Tony Allen in at backup shooting guard and Tony can dribble the ball up the floor.

  • Mike

    THE DEAL two years ago gave the celtics their first legit big man in a long time. There was a reason why it was painful being a celtics fan. Big Baby isn't the beast that Garnett and Wallace are. They however will not be around in a 2-3 years. Injuries and retirement will happen and I would rather have a good post man instead of trying to draft or trade for a mediacre one in a few years. He's huge and plays athletically on the defensive side. Hold your cards celtics, make the pistons get someone else.

  • I dunno, I'm right on the line. I'd really like to keep Davis if possible, but I can agree with not wanting to pay him too much.

    Prior to KG going down last year, Big Baby was the guy I was pointing to as the weak link on the team. As good as he played as a starter, is how bad he had been playing off the bench. I don't know how well he's going to be able to carry over the gains he made when he's back on the bench again. Also, as a PF, he'll always be at least something of a liability, because not only is he short for the size, more importantly he doesn't have particularly long arms for his height, which means that bigger and longer PFs will always have an advantage over him.

    That said, whether Baby or someone else, we need someone who is capable of playing minutes off the bench besides just Sheed. And no, Scalabrine doesn't count. I think his biggest value to the Celtics right now is as trade bait. For one thing, it's probably more likely than not that both KG and Sheed will miss at least some time with minor injuries. For another, foul trouble in the playoffs can be a killer if you don't have a good plan B AND a plan C, as we saw just a couple months ago.

    I think the Celtics are at the point now where they have to make a move. Either get Davis under contract at a reasonable price, or make a move for someone like Drew Gooden.

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  • Arvin

    The Celtics would benefit signing Big Baby for $3-4 million a year for 5 years or $5 million a year for no more than 3 years. If the years are too many or the price isn't right, then a sign and trade with Miami for Jamario Moon would be nice. Danny needs to make a pre-emptive strike now for a deal or the Celtics will get burned by the over-spending Pistons or Mavericks! The time as come to make your move Danny. The options may only get worse from here on.

  • Arvin

    Also Joe Smith would be a nice addition although he is not young, but Drew Gooden is aloof and plays with no heart.

  • I think the Celts should match any offer for Baby up to 4-4.5 Mil, a realistic number considering the Pistons likely want to split their 4.9 mil between two bigs, and Dallas is not really likely to go after Baby. Hopefully then we could use TA and Scal's contracts in a trade to address the SF position. And Danny, work your magic and find a diamon in the rough back up PG, he's out there, somewhere!

  • Anyone have any thoughts on Tim Thomas? Just bought out of his contract today by the Bulls. He's a hybrid forward capable of coming off the bench and playing the 3 or a smaller 4. He has an outside game and is 32, not terribly old. If we lose Big Baby, he is the "type" who could fill in as a back up 4 and take up some of Pierce's minutes. Just a thought…

  • Kelly, I do in fact have some thoughts on Tim Thomas. What I'm thinking is that we should hypnotize Otis Smith or Danny Ferry, and convince them to sign Thomas and give him playing time.

    Seriously, I would rather bring back Mikki Moore or Patrick O'Bryant. I would rather bring back Eric Montross or Pervis Ellison. I would rather sign some crippled homeless guy off the streets of Bangkok. I would rather not sign ANYONE, and just play four guys for long stretches of games than bring in Tim "The Human Lowlight Reel" Thomas.

    During the series with the Bulls, I would stand up and cheer any time he came into the game, because I KNEW it would mean bad things for the Bulls. If Vinnie del Negro hadn't wised up and stopped playing him, that series never would have gone seven games.

  • Ok. Not a big fan i see. understandable.. I was trying to refer more to the hybrid style of forward, than nessesarily Thomas him self. It would be good to have a backup 3 that can play the 4 in a smaller line up, similar to Posey during the title run. Although I don't dislike Thomas quite as much as HB, After thinking about it, I do agree someone a little more talented would be more beneficial.

  • A hybrid forward would be great, but if Davis comes back not particularly necessary. With Davis, one could argue that it might be better to get a 2/3 hybrid.

    At this point I'm hoping Ainge can make Jamario Moon happen. If not, then maybe Drew Gooden.

    And in all seriousness, I really WOULD prefer to take a chance that Ben Wallace can still contribute than sign Thomas. The guy was never as great as he thought he was, at this point he's pure poison.

    Honestly, my first thought when I saw this on ESPN this morning was "O dear god, please NO! Do NOT let Ainge think he's gonna be slick and fill a roster spot for cheap with a guy whose entire career career can be summed up with these three words: coulda, shoulda, dint."

  • BBD… Man we'll all miss him…IF…he goes. Chances are he's gone though. He plays with heart. He strives to improve his game and conditioning each year. I see him being a viable starter…soon. With a nice touch from 15ft in and good feet in the paint…he can be a weapon. No he isn't kg or rw but they aren't spring chickens so he's they're successor. Watching him start in Detroit or playing 20 mins plus a night in Dallas will hurt to see. He is a 10-15 point a night guy and he makes alot of hustle plays. Pay him or sign and trade him but whatever you do celts don't give him away for free!!!

  • By the way pruit is ready to back up rondo and house. He is cooler and more calm under pressure than in years past. He is a ok defender. He is inconsistant shooter but has range. Plus he is cheaper than any other option and knows the system. Sf and pf/c is the only priority.

  • Bobo

    Big Baby :

    A word od advic, the grass is not always greener on the otr side. Take a note from Tom Brady, money is not always everything, winning Championships is paramount and you will certainly have ample opportunities with the Celtics. Please do not ruin your career, the Celtics are a perfect fit for you. Remember patients is a virtue, so finish what you started and stay with the Celtics and you will be rewarded handsomely. The Celtics rule and other NBA teams drool.

  • For a two/three year deal, my preferred cut off point is $2.5 million.

    If it's more than that, I think it's best to let Davis leave and sign someone else to be the fourth big in the rotation.

  • Coach Bo

    Couple of thoughts here:

    I match any offer Davis gets up to $3.5 large with the intention of keeping him.

    I'm absolutely frantic in the search for a backup 3 behind Pierce. NO way we can win a title with Giddens or Walker playing 15 minutes a night behind him. None whatosever.

    Let House play the point until the deadline. As for Pruitt, I know by now everyone has a woody for any living, breathing thing Ainge drafts, be it animal, vegetable or mineral.

    But the kid's just mediocre. We can't go forward giving a guy who's done bupkus in two years significant minutes because we're all covered up in LOVE for every single thing Ainge ever drafted.

  • No way

    The Mavs would be better off going after Chris Kaman, or Camby, than Glen Davis a 6'6" PF. Without Rondo to get him the ball, or Pierce and Ray to spread the floor, Glen Davis would just not be that good.

    Davis is too slow and short to be a low post threat (no team would double him in the post) He's also lacks explosiveness and quickness to create his own shot. You just can't imagine him taking his man off the dribble, and driving the lane.

    Glen got lucky to be on the right team, in the right system. Anyone remember how Smush Parker looked as a started in the Lakers Triangle offense? Where's he now? Dumars isn't dumb, he knows Glen Davis would not work out in Detroit.

  • damascus

    My inclination is to keep Davis who adds youth and reliability now, as the "big three" plus Rasheed are old and injury prone. I was no fan of letting go Posey last year and believe this strained their rotation, took out foot speed, and piled on minutes for Pierce especially, and Allen and Garnett seconarily. Would that we could send Baby over to New Orleans for Posey now. New Orleans really doesn't need Posey according to their present situation, but he still could tip the scale for the Celts.

  • damascus

    ps. And the Celts window is perhaps only one year, probably not two. After that, they can start over, so keeping as many guns now is crucial. Baby will probably be even better next year and provide them with an indomitable front line when healthy and a sturdy one during times of injury.