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Counterpoint: Something’s Missing in the Baby-for-Augustin Rumors

 

“[The Celtics] come in and intimidate you and try to punk you. But if you don’t back down from them, they kind of fold.” -D.J. Augustin, 1/6/09

Something doesn’t add up in the reports that the Celtics have discussed dealing Glen Davis to Charlotte in exchange for D.J. Augustin. I’m not saying Chris Broussard is wrong; the man knows the league and is as plugged-in as they come. I’m saying that I doubt the C’s are discussing an Augustin-Davis deal on its own, for its own sake, without a second deal in mind or plans to bring a third team into the Charlotte deal. 

As you’ve read all over the place by now, a Davis-Augustin one-for-one deal doesn’t work because Davis is a base-year compensation player. This means that he counts as $1.5 million in outgoing salary for Boston but as $3 million in incoming salary (his real salary) for Charlotte. Augustin makes about $2.3 million, so a straight-up deal doesn’t work. You have to add a player on each side to get the math right. 

But here’s my larger point: The Celtics are not going to remove an asset from their front line and add one to their back court unless they are getting another big man from somewhere else.

Take away Big Baby, and the Celtics have exactly one interior banger (Perk) left in the rotation. The rest of the front line would consist of two jump-shooters (Sheed and KG), one banger who can’t get off the bench (Shelden Williams) and whatever Brian Scalabrine is. That is not enough—not with Sheed on the wrong side of 35 and the uncertain health of KG’s knee. 

Any deal that subtracts Baby and leaves Boston with Augustin, Eddie House, Marquis Daniels and Tony Allen leaves a lot of overlapping parts among the guards/small-ish swing men and too few reliable big guys. I just don’t see it. 

I also don’t think Charlotte has the big man the Celtics want. Nazr Mohammed is having perhaps his best season ever, but the Bobcats will look to keep him if they are serious about making the playoffs—even though he’s on the books for nearly $7 million next season. The C’s want no part of Tyson Chandler’s salary; DeSagana Diop is one of the worst offensive players in the league; and, well, that about covers it for Charlotte’s big men. 

The new big man I’d like in this scenario if I were Danny Ainge would have to come from a third team either as part of this deal or in a separate trade. Bill Simmons, upon hearing of the Davis-Augustin talks, quickly proposed a monster four-team deal involving the Kings and Rockets, Ray Allen, Tracy McGrady’s expiring contract and complementary photos of George Hill. The C’s don’t get a big man in the Simmons proposal, but they would at least get a guy (Andres Nocioni) capable of playing the four in a pinch. 

In any case, who exactly is D.J. Augustin? Well he’s a short (listed at 6’0”) point guard from Texas who had a solid rookie season last year, primarily because he hit 43.9 percent of his three-pointers, one of the top marks in the league. That number is down to a more realistic 36.3 percent this season, and everything else about Augustin is down with it. He’s playing about nine fewer minutes per game (17.8, down from 26.5), he’s shooting 37 percent from the floor overall and his passing and rebounding numbers (never good in the first place) are worse this season than last. 

He can run a decent screen/roll, but he hasn’t shown he can be a consistently effective creator for others or a finisher at the rim; Augustin is hitting just 38 percent of his shot attempts at the rim, according to Hoopdata; the league average for point guards on such shots this season is around 56 percent. (Augustin hit about 49 percent last season, which is acceptable). His assist rate (about 20 percent this season) would have ranked about 40th among 80 guards who qualified for the scoring title last year—not where you want to find a point guard.

As for his defense, the numbers don’t suggest he’s as much of a liability as you’d perhaps imagine given his height. Opposing point guards have put up below average numbers against him, according to 82games.com and Basketball Prospectus, and the Bobs defense is playing a touch better with him on the floor this season versus with him on the bench. (They were a touch worse with him on the floor last season). His plus/minus numbers, both raw and adjusted, are neutral. 

He’s young and has some promise, but you could say the same for Glen Davis. 

Stay tuned, I guess. Only eight days left until the trade deadline (mercifully) arrives.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    Wow Zach! That’s a lot of good info. Thanks! This is so much better than other sites. Espn looks so lame compared to this.

  • NV

    8 long days. I checked out that monster trade and i think it’s a great deal

  • nowayout

    Zach, great job as usual. The other alternative to get a big might be another deal following a la KG deal following Ray’s one.

    Ray might be shipped out for a big + 2 guard may be?

    Yet, even in this case, I don’t know how you can change so many parts in the middle of the season

  • http://facebook.com James

    we should deal big baby and sheldon for dj then trade ray allen eddie house and bill walker to the bulls for salmons, thomas, and heinrich then our line ups r pretty nasty!!!!!!

    Rondo
    heinrich
    pierce
    kg
    perk

    dj
    ta
    daniels
    thomas
    wallace

  • Mitch

    that would be a terrible trade james

  • rav

    Would Simmons’ trade be palatable even if we gave away Scal instead of TA?

    I like that better:

    Rondo/Udrih
    Martin/Allen
    Pierce/Daniels
    Garnett/Nocioni
    Perkins/Sheed

    Houston likes it because they give away nothing, and will have $5 million more addtional expiring. Sac gets rid of two bad contracts and Martin who isn’t fitting with Tyreke, while getting back expirings and a young PG with potential. Charlotte gets their PF while only losing Augustin.

    I LOVE IT!

  • GranTur

    Wow that monster trade is honestly one of the only mock trades I’ve seen lately that WORKS FOR EVERY TEAM.

    Nocioni isn’t getting minutes in SAC but I’m a big Nocioni fan. His contract isn’t great for a backup but I think he can produce well at 25 MPG.

    I’m also good with Beno for a back-up PG though his contract doesn’t make much sense. Beno is solid though!

    Martin is a little injury prone, but healthy, he’s great. His contract, on the other hand, is even better. It’s very fair and takes him through his prime.

    This trade is amazing money-wise for every team and bad for Boston, but this is definitely a talent upgrade for Boston.

    Pull the trigger Danny!

  • Sweeney

    Might be acceptable in the trade machine, but I don’t like it at all. I’d rather lose loyally with who we have then lose with who we might have. Not an upgrade enough to do warrant it.

  • Eric

    I like it when boys like Simmons play with other peoples’ toys.

    Anyway, the Monster Trade “works” in the financial sense, but it’s a terrible deal for the Cs. Terrible. I can’t imagine anything more painful than watching Udrih and Nocioni play for the next three years at three times the money Tony is making. Overrated, limited players. Awful. Just awful. I think I’d rather return to 2004, with Jiri Welsch and Raef La Frentz. Ugh. I can’t stress how enough how bad that would be.

    Yes, it nets KMart, which I would love, but it’s worth asking if he’s really better–more clutch, better all-around–than Ray. We don’t know, because he’s been the stud on a bad team for many years. He’s good, but does he help us in the playoffs this year?

  • GranTur

    We won’t have cap room anyway. It’s just a matter of the ownership paying the luxury tax.

    Why should anybody but the ownership care about the extra money being spent? I don’t care…I’d just like to make this team better.

    I’ll repeat: we won’t have cap room anyway.

  • Patrick

    ERIC – You and thousands of other celtics fans keep saying this. But your all failing to miss this, or are not posting it, Ray walks and you get nothing. They can’t just take the money he’s making and spend it. Ray can only resign for the mid-level which is like $6 mill. Ray can get more from someone else, so he’s gone. Why not dump him now and get something? You keep him, LOSE, and he walks, then you and everyone else is crying the same sob story for the next 3 years.

  • cmoney

    Thing is, Shelden is better than Baby. Baby is terrible. It’s hard to find worse players in this league that get the kind of minutes and leeway Baby does. For some reason Doc loves him.

    Maybe the front office finally realizes the best solution is to not give Doc the option to play him.

  • Pingback: Sunday Trade Update Notebook: The Cavs are All-In, Ray is Still Here, the Back-up PG Remains in Play » Boston Celtics Basketball – Celtics news, rumors and analysis – CelticsHub.com

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