We’re three days from the trade deadline, and the anonymously sourced reports are flying like mad. Let’s try and distill some Celtics-related consensus out of the crazy blizzard of news:
• Ray Allen’s expiring deal seems to have fallen out of the news mill as a trade chip likely to get moved. The Big Trade focus now is coalescing around Cleveland’s pursuit of Amare Stoudemire and/or Antawn Jamison, and which of those two players Cleveland finally targets may depend in turn on what the Suns can get in exchange for Stoudemire. Reports from both Chris Broussard and Chad Ford on ESPN.com indicate that Phoenix isn’t thrilled with the Cavs package of J.J. Hickson and Zydrunas Ilgauskas for Amare.
Broussard also reports that the Cavs offer, so widely reported, has pushed other teams to ramp up rival offers for Amare. If the Sixers are willing to offer Andre Iguodala, the Suns may prefer that package—even if they have to take Sam Dalembert as well. And if Phoenix deals with Philly, we may see the Cavs move onto Jamison or Troy Murphy, both of whom can take opposing big men all the way out to the three-point line.
• Another variation: Ric Bucher reports that the Sixers, Suns and Heat have discussed a three-team deal that would send Amare to Miami, Iggy to Phoenix and Michael Beasley to Philly.
• Want to think two steps ahead? Then contemplate this mind-bender from Chad Ford’s piece (linked above):
Given that the Cavs have concerns about well Stoudemire and Shaquille O’Neal would fit together, the team would consider moving Shaq if it acquired Amare. For instance, the Cavs could swap O’Neal and their first-round pick to Washington for Jamison and Mike Miller. They could send the same package to Indiana in a deal for Murphy and Mike Dunleavy.
Yowza. Whatever Cleveland decides to do at the deadline, I’d be shocked if they moved Shaq. He has been playing better lately, and I just don’t see the team shaking things up to that degree. They have the best record in the league!
In any case: Ray Allen has fallen off the map/rumor mill as we approach the 72-hour mark before the deadline.
• Paul Flannery steps back and looks at the broader trade landscape from Boston’s point of view at WEEI.com. Flannery agrees that Ray Allen’s deal is likely not enough to bring Boston a big piece in return:
The problem is that none of those teams have a compelling enough reason to give up their young stars for nothing more than an expiring contract, and that’s really all the Celtics have to offer.
Allen provides zero long-term gain for any potential trading partner, which is what Danny Ainge meant last week when he told The Big Show that the Celtics value him more than other teams do.
Flannery then revisits what I’ve long considered to be Boston’s most likely scenario at the deadline: the bundling of two of three minor expiring deals to net a complementary piece from a team looking to slash payroll in 2011. The easiest example is Brian Scalabrine/Eddie House OR Tony Allen to Chicago for Kirk Hinrich or John Salmons. I would bet money that Boston has discussed this exact deal, at least internally if not directly with the higher-ups in Chicago.
I’d also bet that Chicago is biding its time before the deadline to see if they could get something better than just 2011 cap relief for Hinrich or Salmons. For example:
• Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo! (with an assist from Marc Spears) reports that the Blazers, Lakers and Bulls may be discussing a three-team deal that would send Hinrich to the Lakers, Adam Morrison’s expiring deal, an unidentified expiring deal and a first-round pick to the Bulls and Ty Thomas and Sasha Vujacic (!) to the Blazers. Portland would then try and move Vujacic, who will earn about $5.4 million next season. (And is extremely annoying).
That deal would net only a first-rounder and cap relief for Hinrich. Perhaps a future first-rounder is the sweetener the C’s would have to add to get Hinrich and his 38 percent field-goal percentage?
• Kirk Minihane at WEEI has a nice, thorough piece discussing Dennis Johnson’s qualifications for the Hall of Fame. It’s not a biased pro-Boston piece, and it has lots of solid numbers and context. If you want a quick primer on the case for DJ, this is a good place to look. Here’s one quick sampling:
Dennis Johnson played in five All-Star Games. There are 21 other players eligible for the Hall of Fame who have played in five All-Star Games. Nine are have been elected.
I was a little surprised to see that D.J. played in just one All-Star Game for the Celtics, but it makes sense when you consider that A) Jordan and Isiah were the starters every year and B) The Big Three made it every year.
My take on DJ: His post-season resume is so good that he deserves enshrinement despite stats that don’t overwhelm.