Umm, so there’s this, from Adrian Wojnarowski (at Yahoo!), who, I might point out, knows a thing or two about the NBA:
In a dramatic move that would resuscitate their fading championship hopes, the Boston Celtics are discussing a deal with the Washington Wizards for forwards Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler, league sources told Yahoo! Sports on Friday.
The trade isn’t imminent, but talks have progressed and Celtics GM Danny Ainge has positioned his organization to make one of the boldest trade deadline moves in years. For the Celtics, ownership would have to agree to take on an additional $24 million in salary next season between Jamison and Butler. Jamison makes more than $15 million in 2011-12, but most owners are discounting those salaries because of an assumption that there will be a labor lockout and some, if not all, of that money will never be paid to the players.
I’m not really sure what that last part means. Speculation about what a new collective bargaining agreement might mean for player salaries—both existing deals and future ones—have been all over the map. There was even speculation over the weekend that NBA owners, if they win some sort of hard salary cap or decrease in maximum salaries, would seek to have current deals reduced or voided, which might not pass muster in court. Ainge has said he doesn’t want to take back any bad deals in a theoretical Ray Allen trade. Does Jamison’s deal qualify as “bad”?
I don’t have time now to evaluate this deal, except to say that I’m not sure it makes the C’s that much “younger and more athletic,” two things Danny Ainge wants, according to that Woj story linked above. Jamison will be 34 this summer and has never been known for his athleticism. Butler is 30. But would it make the C’s better this season? And in the future?
There’s also one other issue.
The Wiz will have a lot of teams at least making inquiries about Butler in the next six days. Jamison is far less desirable around the league, since his deal runs for one more season and pays him a huge amount. Cleveland might be the only other serious suitor for Jamison, and I worry about the C’s making a deal that might be motivated—in some small sense—by fear of the Cavs obtaining Jamison.
But Butler is going to draw interest. The Rockets (peddling T-Mac’s expiring), the Mavs (peddling Josh Howard) and a bunch of other teams have reportedly talked to the Wiz about Caron.
Other questions: Can Pierce or Butler play the two guard position? Who comes off the bench? Is it possible to too many jump-shooting forwards (or forward/center, in Sheed’s case)?
In any case: This obviously bears monitoring. This is not just some crack pot on Bleacher Report. This is Adrian Wojnarowski, and while he has gotten a bit ahead of one or two trade stories in the past, the guy knows the league as well as anyone on earth.