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Ainge’s Approach

 


WEEI’s Paul Flannery makes a few good points about Danny Ainge’s positioning as we approach the trade deadline:

Ainge doesn’t have to blow up the Celtics because he already did. He’s dragged as much as he can out of this run while timing almost everything to end when the extension Garnett signed upon his arrival is completed. He will have ample cap space, two All-Stars including a 25-year-old point guard, a respected coach locked up on a long-term contract and at least two picks in what will be a loaded draft.

This is all true. The Celtics will be well-positioned this summer even if they just let existing contracts expire. However, if Ainge is convinced the Celtics aren’t a legitimate contender, it would make sense to accelerate the rebuilding process by acquiring a combination of young players and picks in return for some of the Big Four, even if those players and picks are low level assets.

Why transition to your next era with anything less than the maximum number of assets you can acquire? Or rather — if Ray Allen isn’t going to bring you a title this season, why not spin him off for someone who might help you do so in the future? His value can be something beyond just the cap space he creates, if you can find a deal for him.

This leads us to another of Flannery’s points:

Ainge isn’t going to make a move just because this current team is barely staying afloat. He’s not going to repeat the mistakes of colleagues like Detroit’s Joe Dumars who turned his cap space into Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva in a doomed attempt to stay competitive.

It’s safe to say Ainge won’t take on multi-year salary in return for any of his current players, unless the player is an absolute home run. And save for dealing Rajon Rondo, none of the current Celtics are likely to return that kind of asset.

Kevin Garnett is probably too expensive to move, but if Ainge can deal Allen for an expiring contract and a late first round pick, that makes sense. Is Allen worth more? Probably. But that’s irrelevant. The March 1st to March 15th window is the only opportunity to return value for Allen beyond just his contract. Do you want x or do you want x+1?

Brandon Bass can opt out of his contract this summer. Given his play, he likely will. He’s exactly the kind of reasonably-priced scorer who could help a contender (I type that with the appropriate irony). What could he fetch on the trade market?

I’d argue Ainge should sell off parts, which would come with the added benefit of improving Boston’s draft position, as the team would then presumably struggle through the second half of the season. In fact, if Ainge no longer believes he’s in on Deron Williams (who Doc Rivers loves) or Dwight Howard, you could even make an argument that returning a stronger young asset might be worth taking on a single additional year of salary, which keeps Boston in the market for 2013 free agents, but still makes an assertive move towards the future.

A final glorious ride into the sunset for this core is a romantic notion, but they’re under .500 and heading for a brutal second half schedule which will likely pin them to the bottom of the eastern conference bracket where they’ll be wiped out of the playoffs in the early rounds. I’m not sure that’s my idea of romance.

  • High Rollers

    Whether you say blow it up or ride into the sunset, it's all romantic because it's all speculation. No matter how it goes down the only guys who aren't going to experience the season in a sentimental fashion are the guys in that locker room and Danny Ainge in his corner office. (And the most devoted of fans who rack their brains daily reinterpreting the state of Celtic affairs from afar.) I'm personally glad the C's hands are tied, because I think we have the type of crew this season that has what it takes in the big dance, where anything can happen and all you want is a group that believes in themselves and in each other.

  • zach

    "if Ray Allen isn’t going to bring you a title this season, why not spin him off for someone who might help you do so in the future?"

    This is sort of a reverse myopia – wins now don't matter but wins in the future do. Isn't it true that the odds are strong that whoever we acquire for Ray (short of Dwight, or D -Will) will not help us compete for a title in the next few years? Are those odds greater than the odds of us winning a playoff series this year? If we can get something good then by all means trade Ray, but I for one value wins this year and think it would be great to get the 6th seed and have a competitive first round series. If our starting 5 get healthy they have an OUTSIDE shot at beating teams in the playoffs. Why throw that away for a late 1st round pick or a less talented 30 year old version of Ray?

    • http://twitter.com/michaeljavid @michaeljavid

      that would be presbyopia

  • homicidal

    agreed if you can get anything in return for KG or Ray then do it, stock up on picks. I'm just afraid if they come back next year Doc will keep them in the starting lineup. He'll be heart broken if he has to bring the elderly off the bench.

  • James Patrick

    There's nothing to blow up. The season was screwed by the lock out from day one. There were people on here who thought, oh a shortened season is what this aging team needs. Well, shortened season, still injured.

    The point I'm trying to make. Leave our big four alone. Gage their feelings about finishing their careers as Celtics and see if they're willing to play less for cash and more to win titles. IF that's the case, then we'll have the salary cap to go after some big pieces for next season. If they won't play for minimum salaries, then best of luck. But something tells me they all want to retire in Celtic Green.

    • James Patrick

      salary cap space i meant to say…

  • Sophomore

    Ryan – longtime fan of your posts, and I'm glad you keep saying the truths that folks don't want to hear.

    You're not being too farsighted about wins, not by a longshot. This year's team isn't making any noise in the playoffs. it's going out early, quite possibly in the first round to Miami or Chicago; and if we have a few more bad breaks or one of cellar-dwellers puts it together, we could easily miss the playoffs. The Big-3 era ends, and we make nothing out of our departing assets. No, thank you.

    I'll happily take a late-first-round pick for Bass or Ray if we can get one.

    • homicidal

      word up

  • skeeds

    I don't really see any serious upside in trading Allen, especially for a pick.

    Looking at the facts and obsessing about what we could do for days, I've come to a conclusion that there are a couple of moves we can make that are both realistic AND will have great upside.

    It's a change in dynamic, more than quality, that can improve this team, and anything that shake up the stagnant offense we have right now will be an upgrade. Remember Nate's effect in 2010? Small trade, big results.
    2 moves can improve us instantly. Signing a fast starting SG, is one. Signing a scoring center is the second. They don't necessarily mean getting rid of Ray and JO if it's not possible.
    Signing Stephen Jackson for example, we can ether trade Ray or bring him off the bench and trade Pietrus.
    A scoring center doesn't need to be an expensive starter. I'd even go for someone like Denver's Kosta Koufos. He's got a solid offensive game, he's very efficient, he's young, fast, and only the 5th big for Denver. Then you can play both him and Wilcox at the 5 and just send JO home if he refuses to be traded.

    • smalltownID

      Skeeds, once again off your rocker. "Remember Nate's effect in 2010?" Absolutely nothing you could measure statistically save one game where he actually produced in the post season. And we all know Nate was not an "intangibles guy". Laughable to use the Nate effect to back up any claim unless your being facetious.

      • skeeds

        Nope, I'm dead serious. Back then our bench's stagnant offense, inability to find a shot and unwillingness to take initiative was a huge, huge problem.
        Swapping House for Robinson might be a minor change, that didn't amount to much, but it changed that one thing. I hated Nate, I still do. But that kind of no bullshit, "I'ma take the shot" attitude that D'Antoni bred players carry, was exactly what we needed.
        What did I write? " It's a change in dynamic, more than quality, that can improve this team".

        It's ok man, after all, I've got to be off my rocker to disagree with you. Oh, and for the record, that laughable example won us game 6 in the conference finals and game 4 in the finals. That's a good trade by my book.

        • smalltownID

          I give him one game we might have lost without Nate. In my opinion, both of those games Baby was the real reason we won bc of his play on both ends. It was the first time we had seen Nate actually play a role and Baby did it on both ends. Are you forgetting Eddie's role in the Boston-Chicago marathon – one of the most entertaining boston playoffs series I've seen? Doesn't happen without Eddie? That performance alone blows Nate out of the water let alone all the games where he hit clutch shots. Even if you give Nate credit for both those games, net, the trade was a loss.

          • skeeds

            Wow wow, I said nothing about House's contribution to this team in the long run, compared to Nate's. No comparison whatsoever for their careers as Celtics, plus House I really liked, Nate gets on my nerves.
            At the trade deadline in 2010 though, House was going through a slump, and the bench had a real poblem at creating shots.
            Robinson's more versatile offensive game and speed helped shake that bench up a bit. He did contribute a bit to breaking up those looong scoring droughts, and had 2-3 good games in the playoffs.
            That's about all he did, and exactly why Ainge signed him.

  • ElRoz

    so the article is basically what I had said in my posts 3-4 times already.

  • LACelticFan

    I think Ainge is gonna play this one out, as most importantly, we have nothing anybody wants, except Rondo and only a handful of teams would want him because he is leaps and bounds ahead of the PG they already have(Bobcats-Raptors-Milwaukee-could go on). But with everyone not named Rondo-Pierce-Bass-Johnson-Bradley, we will have around 40million to spend on FAs in the summer. Rondo does have an 11mil contract that goes up 1million every year, so he actually would be hard to deal. So what FAs would you target?
    I would go towards –
    SG OJ Mayo(I don't think he is happy in Memphis and wants to start. Going to cost us at least 8mil, too)
    C Chris Kaman(yeah an over 30 player but with another 5 seasons left in his tank. could be really good if we arent going to be a running team.)
    C Brook Lopez(although he is a RFA and coming off of foot surgery, but dont they want Dwight?)
    C Kosta Koufos(hasnt played major minutes but can play)
    SF Nicholas Batum(great on the break, and only cost us possibly 5mil)
    F/Cs Jason Thompson and/or JJ Hickson(we do already have JJJ but can either of these guys play backup C, and only cost us again 5mil)
    SG Nick Young(hey he has matured but no one can heal the hurts in Washington by themselves)
    C JaVale McGee(he could bring alot of athleticism to this elder team)

    We will need a SG, and more importantly a C, badly. If both are stalwarts on Defense and athletic on offense, with some of the resignings you know we will make, we could be right back in the hunt, ok thats wishful thinking. I live in LA and still pull for the Celtics so don't tell me how rough it can be. ALL the way back to '84.

    • LACelticFan

      I would be looking:
      PG Rondo
      SG YOUNG/MAYO(each guy is looking to win now)
      SF Pierce
      PF Johnson(short sample but has proven he can play)
      C MCGEE/LOPEZ/KAMAN(All 7 footers)
      Bench
      PG Bradley(defense has sold me, still under contract)
      SG Allen(got to accept and be a Steve Kerr)
      SF Green
      PF Bass(under contract at a bargain)
      C Garnett(got to accept and be a Bill Walton)
      PG Moore(wouldnt give up on him so soon)
      SG Pietrus(insurance policy for swingmen)
      SF ROOKIE
      PF Wilcox(insurance policy for post players)
      C Steimsma(give the guy another year, wont cost us much)
      Two players at two key spots then the usual more than adequate rest for the other old man at SF, could would, should make a huge difference.

  • fan from Taiwan

    here is my plan:
    1.Ray for Ellis,and sign Dwight next year also resign Jeff Green,then draft some bigs. The startlineup would be:Rondo+Ellis+PP+Green+Dwight

    2.Rondo+J.O for Bynum,and sing Deron Williams next year also resign Jeff Green,then draft Austin. the start:Deron+Austin+PP+Green+Bynum

    3.Rondo+JO for P.Gasol,and amnesty Gasol next year,sign Deron&Dwight both and resign Green,then draft Austin. the start:Deron+Austin+PP+Green+Dwight

    4. Do nothing this season,sign Dwight and resign Green,draft Austin,so the start:Rondo+Austin+PP+Green+Dwight

    All I think is:we need a go to guy,PP can't do this anymore,Rondo and Green can't,too. So Ellis or Austin may be a good choice

  • JuanCarlosofEvian

    Trade Rondo & JO for DWill. Convince DWill to resign. If he does, then Dwight probably signs and we resign Ray and KG. Then we ship championships straight to the rafters.

    If DWill decides to peace out to Dallas then Dwight definitely doesn't come to Boston and we've traded Rondo for a few months of DWill. We don't resign Ray and KG and we get really horrible really quickly (but with only one big contract on the books). We bottom out and we bottom out hard. But, as we know, bottoming out is the bestest, surest way to rebuild

  • EA Koenig

    If I were Danny I would trade Rondo to the raptors for a Barbosa's expiring contract, the rights to Jonas Valanciunas and a future pick, top 10 protected until 2014 then it goes to top 5 protected then 2016 it goes unprotected.

  • -jp

    I like the idea of stocking up on picks in this draft because its so deep, but I hate to say this: Doc might not be the right coach for that type of move. We know how hes with young players, maybe it makes them better in the end, but who disagrees that Johnson and Moore should get more run this season? If we get multiplepicks he might have to start a rookie, not sure how well he would do in that situation. It makes more sense to me to just totally bottom out for a year and get an impact player via the lottery, its leaving a lot up to chance but as you said I would rather do that then be in the Joe Dumers, Pistons situation

  • Zack

    Definitely Wait Till The Offseason And Pick up Javale Mcgee Great Player Huge Wingspan and doc will give him his much needed attitude adjustment. Maybe Pickup either ronny turiaf or jeremy Evans.

  • yourdumb

    Dont trade for stupid fuckin contracts that fuck us over fpr free agents in 2 or 3 offseasons when steph curry, demarcus cousins, tyreke evens, john wall amd all the rest hit. I dont want anoth scal signinf. I dont want another vin baker trade. Its time to sign all star players for all star money.

  • yeah

    "Trade Rondo & JO for DWill. Convince DWill to resign. If he does, then Dwight probably signs and we resign Ray and KG. Then we ship championships straight to the rafters."

    THIS

    High risk but high reward. The Big 3 would age in reverse if Deron & Dwight were here.

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