Barring any ridiculous “Paul Gasol for Kwame Brown” situations that may (won’t) fall into the Celtics’ lap, there is only one possible Ray Allen trade I would make within the next two weeks. Since Danny Ainge isn’t exactly blowing up my phone asking for advice, I just want to make it clear that this is all my personal opinion, and in no way do I have any insider information.
Before I divulge my Ray Allen swap, I need to establish a few caveats. The rumor going around is that the Celtics would only trade Ray Allen for a player that cracks their top eight in the rotation. This simply isn’t good enough. The Celtics can’t trade their starting shooting guard for a back up point guard and a guy with a bad contract. It just can’t happen. Despite Allen’s lowly shooting percentage and clear dip in consistent production, he still has the ability to score 20 points and make big shots. Is it worth replacing elite spot production for just solid production? I say no.
The Celtics also can’t trade Ray Allen without either getting another capable shooter or bonafide slasher in return. This means Allen for Amare definitely out. I also consider this to damn the idea of Ray Allen for Kirk Hinrich and Tyrus Thomas/ John Salmons. Thomas would give the Celtics some much needed athleticism and would be a nice complement to Tony Allen off the bench. Yet, that still leaves a vacancy at the starting two guard spot, unless the Celtics start Hinrich thus nullifying the depth secured at the point guard spot behind Rondo and the very reason this trade was considered in the first place. Even if Paul Pierce shifts to the two guard spot and the Celtics promote a guy like Tony Allen or Marquis Daniels to the three, the Celtics are not doing themselves any favors by adding another forward and subtracting a wing.
The only move the Celtics can afford to make is for wing or shooting guard who is just as capable of getting to the bucket and scoring from deep as Ray Allen has been this season. This leads to some interesting names out there which include the likes of Kevin Martin and Monta Ellis. I like Martin as a player but his slight build doesn’t take any pressure off Paul Pierce on the defensive end in games against guys like Lebon James, Kobe Bryant, and Dwyane Wade. Martin is also a scorer that necessitates a certain number of shots in order to be effective. With so many capable players on this team, I’m not sure the Celtics can deal with a guy who needs that many shots- especially when they already have a “go to” in Paul Pierce. Ellis is an even worse fit in Boston than Martin because not only does he need shots, but he needs the ball in his hands. Ellis is most effective off the dribble and using his superior quickness to get into the lane. He also lives and dies but the number of shots he takes. That means when he shoots 7-27, he finishes with 20 points but at cost?
For these reasons, I have concluded that there is only one trade the Celtics should make in the next two weeks should the opportunity arise. This is, of course, some combination of Ray Allen for Andre Iguodala.
Iguodala is the perfect fit for this Boston Celtics team. He is already known for his defensive prowess and he is the perfect up tempo player to complement Rondo. Pierce is also shooting a career best 47% from three this season, thus taking over the exclusive three point shooting from Ray Allen is not outlandish.
Starting Iguodala at the three would also drastically change the Celtics defensive strategy when playing the “universal soldiers” that now play the three spot in the NBA. Iguodala fits right into that mold with his size, strength, and speed- easily matching up against the game’s elite: Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, and Dwyane Wade.
The bottom line is that pros outweigh the cons with this trade- at least in terms of guarantees. There is no guarantee that Ray Allen is just going through a tough stretch and will snap out of it to become his old self again. However, there is a guarantee that Andre Iguodala will remain 26 years old for this entire season.
There several different combinations that essentially give both teams what they want- the Sixers cap relief and the Celtics a player that can start in Ray Allen’s place and fill or surpass his production on both ends of the floor. I’ll analyze a few, starting with the one that benefits the Celtics the most (give me a break, the site is called Celtics Hub):
Update: I guess Kapono’s contract is not expiring this year and the ESPN trade machine is messing with me? At any rate, just disregard the analysis that refers to that.
Andre Iguodala, Lou Williams, and Willie Green for Ray Allen, J.R. Giddens, and Bill Walker:
This is pretty much the standard “something for nothing” trade that really won’t happen. Despite the Sixers getting what they want in three expiring contracts for three non-expiring contracts, I don’t see how sending out both Andre Iguodala and Lou Williams is something that helps the Sixers lure a big name free agent next year. That is unless they want to build around Jrue Holiday and Thaddeous Young (ha!). Oh, and Elton Brand shows that he is the player he once was (double ha!).
Andre Iguodala, Jason Smith, and Jason Kapono for Ray Allen and J.R. Giddens:
This trade might actually benefit the Celtics the most given the fact that Kapono is a pretty big expiring contract coming off the books next year. Jason Smith is also a young player who hasn’t really had the opportunity to show what he can do because of injuries. I’m not exactly high on Smith but as a salary throw in for the Sixers to get rid of a contract, I’ll take a flyer on him.
None of these deals include the type of talent the Sixers’ are looking for if they were to trade their franchise player. But would a future unprotected first round pick be enough? Or maybe two protected future first round picks?
I honestly can’t say. On paper, even with picks these deals seem silly- but this is no run of the mill NBA off season. The common knowledge around the rumor mills that Andre Iquodala is available and if he is, than there is a chance anything could happen.
Here’s hoping the Sixers being 17-30 and wanting a shot at rebuilding feel that 20 million under the cap is enough for their franchise player.
Bonus (Blasphemous?) Trade:
Andre Iguodala and Samuel Dalembert for Ray Allen and Kendrick Perkins
Would you do it? I think I would (shhh, don’t tell Perk!)
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