We’re less than 72 hours from the trade deadline and with Carmelo Anthony finally on his way to New York City, the rest of the dominoes can start to fall around the league. ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that the Celtics and Rockets have discussed the prospect of a deal centered around Shane Battier.
Reporteth Señor Stein:
It’s too soon to say whether the teams can reach an agreement on a deal to send Battier to the Celtics, given that Boston’s trade chips are limited and since Houston is regarded as one of the most aggressive teams in a conservative market and might need Battier’s expiring $7.4 million salary for a bigger move.
Two points here:
1) Battier would be a near-perfect addition to the Celtics bench. At 6’8′, he’s got the size to guard the elite threes in the league (as well as some twos, as the photo to the right makes clear). The 32-year-old also possesses the kind of commitment to defense that would allow him to integrate quickly into the Celtics’ culture and the basketball IQ to pick up the C’s systems in time for the playoffs.
Battier’s hardly an offensive dynamo (12.89 PER) but he is shooting .385 from the three-point-line; the same as Paul Pierce. He could offer better floor spacing on the second unit than did Marquis Daniels and give Doc Rivers another shooter for key late-quarter sets.
2) It’s not going to happen without serious contortions from the Celtics’ front office. In fact, both SI’s Chris Mannix and CSNNE’s A. Sherrod Blakely suggest the deal is not happening. But there’s no guarantee Houston will find a better option for Battier’s contract in the next three days and these things have a way of returning from the dead.
Of course, there are more than a few complications here for Danny Ainge.
Battier has value as both a player and as an expiring contract, which means Houston isn’t going to dump him for nothing.
With Yao Ming’s future in doubt, and with no other elite players on his roster, Daryl Morey will be looking for one or more of the following in return for Battier: a star player, young talent and draft picks. They can’t get all that for Battier, but as Stein notes, the Rockets may use his contract as part of a larger deal. How excited should Houston really be for a grab-bag from a group of Celtics like Daniels, Nate Robinson, Avery Bradley, Semih Erden and Luke Harangody?
The Celtics do have appealing pieces but they aren’t going to part with Kendrick Perkins or Glen Davis, either of whom would probably be enough to get the deal done, but neither of whom is worth trading for Battier.
Anyone have a brilliant three-way-deal? Because that’s what it might take to get this done.