So the C’s are looking for a small forward. It’s no secret. Everyone from Doc Rivers, to Danny Ainge have freely admitted it. We’ve heard a lot of names thrown around. I shot down a number of them on Sunday for various reasons, while floating out by own list of candidates.
With the deadline just two days away, it’s time to take a look at some realistic names. Some have already been brought up in trade rumors, other have not. What do they all have in common? They’re all expiring contracts, which is really the only kind of player Ainge will be looking to deal for, the reasons of which I explained in this column from last week which I strongly encourage you to check out if you haven’t already.
For now though, it’s time to dig deep into these names. Which players could actually help Boston? What’s their price tag? Which players is most likely to come to Boston? I explore the names and all the scenarios in this piece.
Celtics Trade Assets
Nate Robinson makes $4.2 million, has 1 year remaining at $4.5 million
Avery Bradley makes $1.4 mil in 1st year of 4 year deal
Luke Harangody makes $500k in 1st year of 2 year deal
Semih Erden makes $500k in 1st year of 2 year deal
1st round pick/2nd round pick (Ainge really values draft picks so unlikely he will deal a 1st round pick unless for a serious upgrade)
For Salary Matching Purposes
Marquis Daniels make 2.4 million and could be dealt with some cash to another team to match salaries
Robinson and Daniels are the two pieces that Ainge is most likely to deal in my estimation. Harangody is next, but he’s not of much value to anyone else, plus C’s could still use him for depth purposes. Erden is also still needed with both O’Neals on the shelf. Bradley is a 20-year-old with a very manageable contract. Good cheap labor is valued on this team so he may be untouchable, and if not will only be dealt for a significant upgrade. Now let’s explore some names.
Jamario Moon: age:30 height: 6-8
10-11 Salary: 3 million
4.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.1 apg, 10mpg
39.6% FG, 26.7% 3pt FG
Moon and Rasual Butler could be the most realistic targets on this list. The problem for both is they are somewhat flawed players. We’re pretty well acquainted with Moon around here after facing the Cavs several times the past couple years. The fourth year veteran is extremely athletic and and a plus defender. He’s a subpar shooter, but he has shown flashes of consistency from the outside over the course of his career (32 percent career three-point shooter). If you’re Ainge this is a guy you go after, if you’re looking for size and defense as opposed to anything on the offensive end, which would come as a bonus.
Besides his shooting issues, he’s a great finisher around the hoop (76 percent at the rim…..hello Rondo alley-oops!) but doesn’t have the handle or skills to penetrate enough to get there (just 0.8 shots at rim per game). His mid-range shot is surprisingly stellar (48 percent with 1.3 attempts per game), yet he’s missing two-thirds of his shots from beyond the arc.
What It Would Take for C’s to deal for Moon: Marquis Daniels (matching salary), cash, maybe a draft pick?
Likelihood Of Deal Happening: Certainly one of more realistic scenarios, but depends if Moon is part of Cavs future plans, a la Anthony Parker. Ainge also wouldn’t deal a 1st rounder for him, so Cavs trade demands would have to be on lower end.
Anthony Parker: age 35 height 6-6
10-11 salary: 2.8 million
FG: 40%, 3pt FG: 39.8%
8.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.9 apg
Parker would undoubtedly be a terrific fit for the C’s and biggest upgrade this team has made to their roster in-season, since bringing P.J. Brown aboard during the championship run. He can shoot the rock (40 percent career three-point shooter), can play Ray Allenesque solid defense and has the size to play the three.
The problem? The Cavs understandably like him and won’t give him away. They also aren’t big spenders this year (just 53 million total salary for roster) and Dan Gilbert has big pockets so they won’t be looking to shed salary for easy cash with a player like Parker, as ESPN’s Marc Stein recently reported.
They’ll want something of value, and it’s not clear if the C’s have want they want. Nate Robinson at 4.5 million for next year isn’t enticing. Erden has promise, but he may not be enough (if C’s are willing to deal him) if the Cavs want to bring back Parker. The endgame here may be whether Parker has an interest in staying in Cleveland long term. If that’s a yes, then C’s are out. If he informs Cleveland he won’t be coming back, this could get interesting. It’s a possible but certainly not probable scenario.
What It Will Take To Deal For Parker: A 1st Round Pick, Daniels, cash and potentially Erden? (Though Ainge may not be willing to do both a pick and Erden)
Likelihood of Deal Happening: Unlikely, but still one of more realistic targets on this list.
Rasual Butler: age 31, height 6-7
10-11 salary: 2.4 million
FG: 32%, 3pt FG: 31% (36% career)
5.1 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 0.7 apg
For my money right now, this is probably the guy the C’s are most likely to deal for. I’m not sure that’s a good thing, but just more of a sign of the tough situation Danny Ainge is in. Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports (who has terrific C’s connections) reported the C’s were one of the teams, that had interest in the 31-year-old last week, who has been out of Vinny Del Negro’s rotation for the better part of the past two months. Why? Well there’s a lot of young studs in Clipperland and Butler’s hadn’t been doing his job (shooting) sufficiently.
Curious to hear more, I talked to ClipperBlog’s Jordan Heimer for more information on what went wrong with Rasual this year and whether he could fit here:
Rasual lost his spot in the rotation early on in the season because, basically, he was a one tool player who lost his one tool. The guy has always been a minus defender, ball handler, and passer (a triple threat!), who could make just under 40% of his threes. Except this year, he hasn’t even been able to do that. How bad has he been? With Eric Gordon down, and the Clips backcourt depth paper-thin, Rasual is STILL getting DNP-CD every night. Vinny Del Negro gave him four games to prove he belonged back in the rotation and Rasual responded by making two jumpers in four games. Put it this way — a fellow Clips fan and I spent twenty minutes yesterday debating whether or not Rasual could get minutes in the Greek league. So basically… yeah, you don’t want this guy.
Ouch. Don’t let that get you down C’s fans. This is the same team that has brought in Michael Finley, Stephon Marbury, and Mikki Moore over the past two years so is a review like that going to scare me away? No way.
The truth is Butler is realistic since his contract is manageable (2.4 million), he probably won’t cost more than Daniels, some cash and maybe a 2nd round pick. Plus, he did at one point show the ability to shoot. He’s trended downwards the past two years playing for two inept offensive coaches in Mike Dunleavy and Vinny Del Negro.
A coach like Doc Rivers can probably get the best out of him, or find out pretty quickly whether there’s anything left. He did hit 39 percent from downtown just two years ago in New Orleans on his last good team. Could he do something like 36-37 percent in Boston? I don’t think it’s out of the question. I wouldn’t love a deal for Butler, but it’s certainly better than doing nothing at all and the price would be right.
What it would take to deal for Butler: Daniels (matching salaries), cash (Since Sterling is cheap), maybe a 2nd round pick
Likelihood of deal getting done for Butler: Best chance of any name on this list.
Shane Battier: Age 32, Height 6-7
2010-11 Salary: 7.3 million dollars
8.4ppg, 4.8 rbg, 2.5 apg, 30 mpg
44%FG, 37.6% 3pt FG,
The C’s don’t have enough assets they are willing to give up to get him on their own, but since he’d be such a perfect fit for this team, we’ll throw him on here anyway. The Rockets are five games out of the final playoff spot in the west and a couple million dollars over the luxury tax, so chances are Daryl Morey will be doing some dealing this week and Battier’s name could be in the fold. We’ve already heard a report of interest from Marc Stein, and Chris Mannix of SI, rebuffing the report from the Rockets end.
The problem for the C’s is there isn’t enough on this roster to get a deal done as Ryan told you last night. Even if Ainge threw together a monster offer of Nate Robinson, Avery Bradley/Semih Erden, a 1st round pick and other filler to make the numbers work, it’s unclear just how interested the Rockets would be.
They are pretty set at the guard spot for the future with Kyle Lowry, Courtney Lee, and Kevin Martin locked up long term, so Nate and Avery probably aren’t too appealing to the Rockets. And that’s a lot to give up on the C’s side of things too for just a rental, albeit a very valuable one. Put it all together and there are too many obstacles on both sides. Battier may go somewhere, it won’t be Beantown.
Chance of deal getting done: 0.1 percent
Josh Howard: age 30, height 6-7
10-11 salary: 3 million
FG: 33%, 3pt FG: 28.6% (33% career)
8.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 0.9 apg
Like Battier, you can throw this one in the pipe dream department, although it may be slightly more realistic than any deal for Battier. Howard has played just 10 games this year for the Wizards due to recurring knee problems from a torn ACL suffered at the end of last season. That injury history right there is probably enough to keep the C’s away, since the last thing they need right now is another guy with major health question marks.
Nonetheless, Howard did play the last two games before break and looks relatively healthy, posting 16 points in 25 minutes during the first game in his return. He provides some size, defense and rebounding, while also having the offensive skills to establish a scoring punch of the bench.
The Wizards know all this though, which makes them very hesitant to give him up. He shouldn’t cost big money this offseason, so the team will probably want to bring him back for another go around. Thus it will take a fair amount to make Washington give him up. The Wizards are pretty set in the backcourt with that John Wall guy so Bradley or Nate won’t be enticing. Could Semih Erden be enough along with Daniels and a 1st round pick? Not for an establish pro like Howard….and that may be too much to give up for a guy with injury concerns anyway.
What Would It Take To Deal for Howard? Multiple picks, Semih Erden, cash, and Marquis Daniels. That’s probably too much for Danny’s taste.
Likelihood of Deal Happening for Howard: Very small.
So there’s your list folks. There’s a few other names that have been thrown around (Roger Mason Jr., Dhantay Jones, etc.) and we’ll get to those shortly, but to me, the guy on this list are the most likely targets for Boston. Here’s how I order the likelihood of C’s dealing for said players.
999) Battier (not happening)
We’ll take a quick look at some trade possibilities that aren’t on expiring contracts this afternoon.