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A Trade That Works: Return of the Pose, Power of the Grizz

 

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to post a few trades that work under the NBA’s salary cap and make at least moderate sense for the teams involved. I cannot state this clearly enough: These deals are not based on any inside information. None of them will actually happen. They are meant only to a) place the Celtics within the marketplace as the deadline approaches; b) spark some discussion.

Without further ado: A trade that works.

Celtics receive: James Posey

Hornets receive: Brian Scalabrine

Grizzlies receive: Tony Allen, Boston’s 2010 first-round draft pick.

Hey, if you don’t want the C’s giving up any player you consider part of their post-season rotation, this is the kind of deal you have to do. Here is the basic reasoning behind it:

• Boston gets a capable swing forward with post-season experience, shooting range and defensive credentials

• The Hornets save $2.6 million this year, sliding them below the dreaded luxury tax line. They also get rid of Posey’s contract, which pays him $6.5 million next season and about $7.0 million in 2012, when he will be 35. In exchange, they get Scal’s $3.4 million expiring deal.

Niall Doherty, who writes about the Hornets at the outstanding blog Hornets247, says the following: I think absolutely the Hornets would do it, especially since it would get them under the luxury tax threshold. Posey didn’t prove to be the guy to put the Hornets over the hump, and now they’re on the hook to pay him more than $6 million a season through 2011-2012.

• Memphis gets an expiring contract in TA and a draft pick in exchange for renting its cap space. This may not sound like much, considering the Grizz are the last team with major cap room that may be willing to use it in order to facilitate a deal. Until last week, the Kings had a decent chunk of cap room that, experts speculated, could fetch a decent price with teams scrambling to get under the tax line. What did it fetch? Hilton Armstrong and cash.

A brief aside before I explain why this trade won’t happen.

The aside: You spend time tinkering with deadline deals, and you begin to realize how powerful a team like Memphis can be. They have a big chunk of  cap room (about $3.2 million), and they have an open roster spot. They are basically the only team in the NBA with both of those things. It’s easy to line up a Scal/TA for Posey deal (it works under the cap), but New Orleans has no incentive to do that. They want to get under the luxury tax this season, so they would only dump a quality player (if you consider Posey as such) for immediate payroll relief; a combo of expiring deals that match Posey’s salary doesn’t accomplish that.

If the C’s want Posey and his $6M salary, they need to send out that amount (plus or minus 25 percent) in return, and the Hornets have no interest in taking on $6M in salary. But accepting $3.4 million in exchange for $6 million? That could work. The C’s would need to find a separate home for the remaining $2.5 million or so, and that home would have to be Memphis.

And the Grizz aren’t just going to help the C’s for nothing. They’d want a draft pick (almost certainly a first-round pick) or a hefty chunk of cash (the maximum amount of cash allowed in a deal is $3 million).

I would be shocked if the Grizz didn’t make a deal involving their cap space over the next month.

In any case, here are the reasons this deal won’t happen:

• Posey is declining fast, and the Celtics may believe they need Tony Allen with Marquis Daniels out another month or so. Posey is essentially a “three and D” guy, and while the three is still there (he’s hitting about 38 percent), it’s a fair question as to whether Pose can still bring the D. The Hornets defense has been a bit worse with Pose on the court this season, his adjusted plus/minus is well into the negative range and his direct counterparts have been putting up huge numbers, according to 82games and Basketball Prospectus. (Opposing small forwards, for instance, are putting up a 19.1 Player Efficiency Rating against Pose).

The C’s are not going to commit nearly $7M/year to such a player through 2012, not when they will almost certainly be over the tax in both of those seasons.

• The Hornets are a playoff contender at 20-17 and could use the revenue from a couple of home playoff games. They also have a point guard who could leave in 2012, and he has a temper. It would probably be best not to alienate him by dumping Posey for nothing. Also: The Armstrong deal with Sacramento has the Hornets just about $500,000 over the luxury tax, meaning they could get under it via a much smaller and less foundation-altering deal.

• As for Memphis, maybe they just want to stand pat instead of spending $2.5 million extra this season on someone like TA. Maybe Chris Wallace wants more than a low first-round pick or cash for the privilege of renting his cap space.

Again: This deal is merely to illustrate the kind of thing that is possible for Boston given its current cap situation. I’m going to try and do these things regularly over the next month, and if you have a trade you like—and that makes sense for everyone involved—please share in the comments. Completed trades only, please. Typing “we should get Al Jefferson back!!!!!!!” doesn’t do anyone any good if you can’t figure out a way to actually do it.

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    zach. i recognize you know a zillion times more than me about the Cs and the NBA, and you are just throwing this one out there to get the ball rollling…..but james posey?!

    this is like…you’re in a great relationship that didn’t really go sour but you broke up anyways….both went their separate ways with no hard feelings….girl got over-spoiled by some loser in her next relationship….went from a 8 to a 3….you bump into her at a bar one night a few years later….have a weak moment….she knows you are a way better catch than whats shes unhappy with now…..and then mysteriously you decide to throw away your current situation for the ‘good old days’…even though you know its not good for you and it won’t last.

    stop. no. don’t.

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    @kool aid: I just laughed out loud at the office. Like you said: Just to get the ball rolling. I’ll have some others that I think are better, but in general, the Celtics are not really going to get a good player in a trade.

    If Posey had one year left on his deal, maybe. But two makes it prohibitive, I realize.

    Just a discussion-starter.

  • Jay P

    @kool aid

    Best. Analogy. Ever.

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    Watching the jazz game last night rekindled my interest in Ronnie Brewer. No way that guy couldn’t help the Cs immediately, and he is a good value. He overlaps with what Marquis was supposed to bring but I kinda forget if that guy is even alive anymore. Brewer is a solid (and hyperactive) perimeter stopper (LBJ, Wince Carter, Southern Joe Johnson, Mamba) and would ease the load on truth and ray. He has no offensive range….but i really think when healthy, the Cs will have no problem scoring and spacing ….perimeter D needs some help though.

    Thoughts? What would it require to make it happen?

  • j o h n

    I say aim for steve blake using scal, sheldon, giddens, and/or walker as bait (if need be, tony allen), sweeten with draft picks/$$ to pluck one of wizards big men and send him to portland.

    do that, you get solid backup pg to rondo, allow house to stay at his two spot, & keep the frontline at sheed, baby, marquis/tony. blake’s defense is weak but that’s not a big concern with that second unit. need that unit to keep on with the scoring.

    has to be a match somewhere there.

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    i think TA is the most likely of the ‘smaller expirings’ to go. simply because he has the most value. love the guy’s competitive energy and he is an amazing athelete….but the team knows he’s never going to be a guy you can trust in key minutes so they’ll let someone pry him.

    ….and his stock went up x5 with his
    duck-under-the-backboard-alleyoop the other night

  • Jason

    The very first thing the C’s need is everyone healthy. KG, Daniels, Sheed, BBD. You start there and the team is in great shape. After that, the next clear-cut (by a mile) need is a backup PG. You would love a Jamal Crawford or even Pargo, but at the very least you need someone to run the second unit while Rondo rests that isn’t a colossal drop off. Maybe Ainge holds off waiting to see if Quisy comes back 100%, but again, assuming those already in-house are healthy, this is the only true need the C’s have. Any other deal would be a marginal upgrade to the 10th man on the bench, whereas a backup PG would be an order of magnitude more valuable.

  • tm

    The Celtics isn’t owned by Mark Cuban, they are not going to spend that much money.

    Steve Blake? Why not T-mac on a buyout geez….

    Scal/TA/Giddens/Walker, do you really think other teams want them? They have virtually no trade value, the best we can do is get an 8th man or large contract from somebody. Eddie Curry and Jared Jefferies are available……………

    (BTW, Cs didn’t want to pay Posey for 4 years at $6M. What makes you think they would pay $7M to Nocioni for 5 years)

  • sam_lt

    This trade stuff is complicated, I have to admit to not following/understanding it before this past year and the more I find out the less I think I know. Anyway my question is I thought in a trade that the saleries had to be within a certain percentage, I understand that is why the C’s need Memphis but I don’t understand how the Hornets can take so much less than what they’re getting rid of.

  • sam_lt

    I understand this is all hypothetical but it is a good learning exercise.

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    @sam: I should have specified in the post, but i didn’t want to clutter it up too much. New Orleans has a few trade exceptions, which is fancy talk for “they traded Hilton Armstrong and his $2.8M salary for nothing, so there is a $2.8M hole they can fill if they’d like to.”

    That’s how they can take on Scal and send away Posey without the salaries matching up like they normally would for teams over the cap.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    Part of the question is can the Cs be healthy for long enough before the deadline to see how everything fits together? So you can have a true measure of what you have before you go shopping for something else. Generally speaking, I wonder if you could say the majority of trades do or don’t work? I feel like it’s not a 50/50 situation. It seems to me, thinking back on actual trades, that it normally does not work out. Philosophically, it has to be a very fine line if your team has a good record to potentially trade yourself into a worse situation. If you are already a good team I think the odds are higher that you will get worse. If your team has a mediocre or bad record then it is a much easier decision.

    It just feels like many people say the word “trade” & their mouth starts to water. They instantly have all these warm fuzzy hopeful feelings. They don’t think about the concept of getting worse players or players who don’t even know/can’t learn the Cs defensive schemes etc. It takes time to build some chemistry unless you have an all star or very smart player.

    Zach, I was wondering if there are certain Cs who have contracts which render them unable to be traded? I was thinking Sheldon had such a contract. Granted, Sheldon is not making a lot, but his play seems to have gone down hill. It seems like earlier in the year he was trying a lot harder, but now it seems like he feels the minutes are not gonna come regardless of what he does. Maybe he does not perform well in practice, but there have been some games where he is not even used.

    TA has shown some really good stuff on the court, especially ball denial. With JR & Bill, I feel like you need a bigger sample size of actual game minutes. Sheldon seems to have plateaued. When Scal plays hard he does a lot of little things which are hard to measure, but his shot is off.

    A player like PJ Brown who is tough, rebounds, can play some D, & WANTS to hang around the paint would be nice. A backup point guard who can handle pressure, pass the ball well, & play good D would also be nice. If the Cs were going to trade I would hope they would go for better defensive players & not some flashy guy who can score (takes too many shots– look how Rashard is complaining about not getting shots=Vince), but does not play defense. To me, the Cs can score, but their defense could be tighter.

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  • j o h n

    No one really wants Scal/Walker/Giddens/Sheldon. That’s not why that team is getting them in the trade. They are going to get them either shed salaries/long term contracts;
    get something marginal for someone they won’t resign in the off season, and/or cut down their luxury tax. Hence why draft picks and/or cash would always be attached to any trade for the guys listed above.

    Tmac…..what the hell would we do him, especially after he breaks down after the 3rd game? Backup PG is what we need. Not another big body or wingman.

  • spencer

    How about Ray Allen + JR Giddens for Kevin Martin and Andres Nocioni?

    While Ray is one of my favorite C’s, I just think that Ray + Paul is getting a bit too old and not athletic enough to match up with the younger teams out there.
    This trade gives the C’s better wings to match the more athletic teams plus some added insurance in case Marquis doesn’t come back at full strength. Sacramento does this because Ray would teach the young Sacramento team all about what it takes to win.

  • ed judson

    During the summer and preseason when everyone was clammering to deal TA, I wrote wait have patience until the deadline and do Scal and TA for Posey. More than anything – yes even a pure backup 1 – the C’s need a wing besides the Truth that can guard LBJ, Kobe and Joe Johnson. NO ONE besides on the C’s beside PP can impede Lebron. Posey +/- in Boston was less than glowing, but there was a reason. Whenever he held the second unit together Paul , Ray and Ticket were sitting. All Posey does is win. Plus the C’s are doomed if they continue with this we-can turn-it-on-whenever-we-want-to mentality (Why not just turn it on now and leave it on now?). Bring back Posey’s spirited and chippy play. Two years of luxery tax for a championship in 2010? bring it on! This team is too fragile for 2011 or 2012.

    Remember the 2008 Denali commercial – This town needs a parade.

  • spencer

    Small one, but what about JR Giddens for Wilson Chandler?

    Chandler is an athletic and lanky SF who can also play PF, and can also hit the 3.
    NY does this to get another expiring contract.

  • Greg

    Honestly, I don’t understand how this deal helps the Celtics at all. Tony Allen fills a need and so does Scal, especially with KG hurting again. James Posey can hit three’s, but we let him go in the first place because he was overpaid, why would we want him back with his inflated contract? I personally think you’re remembering a bit too fondly of what James Posey actually did for the Celtics. He came up big for us in our post season run two years ago, and now he’s over the hill and can’t contribute the same way.

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    @Greg: Remember, just a discussion starter. I generally agree with you, though I don’t think Scal fills a need.
    @Spencer: The Knicks view Chandler as a long-term piece. He’s one guy they are not dealing. And the Ray/Kevin Martin deal is intriguing, but I don’t think either team would do it right now.

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