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Trade Deadline Musings

 

A few scattered thoughts as we close in on 36 hours until the trade deadline.

Danny Ainge’s latest proclamation that he will not move Rajon Rondo seems definitive, at least for the remainder of the regular season. We’re not privy to Ainge’s specific discussions so it’s unclear what Rondo’s current market value is, but it doesn’t appear to meet Boston’s requirements. They’ll move him only for a superstar (roughly: a top-12 player).

I’m still not convinced the Celtics are committed to a Rondo-centric rebuilding plan, especially if they’ve done a good job of keeping altercations between Rondo and his teammates in-house. We have a good read on his on-court game but the rarest of details about whatever interpersonal problems exist behind closed doors, and how the Celtics regard his leadership potential.

We may hear more Rondo trade rumors as we approach the draft and move into the free agency period. With all that cap space to facilitate trades, Ainge would be a fool not to keep all options open. To me, the idea that he shouldn’t periodically gauge the market value of his players is juvenile, even if it means — *gasp* — proposing trades that involve Rondo.

***

There are at least a couple of us here at the Hub who would like to see efforts made to deal some or all of the Big Three, bottom out, secure a high draft pick or two, and pursue the next championship-headlining player that way. Of course, the merits of that argument, which largely involve the notion that no superstar is coming to Boston via free agency, are academic. That’s because the Celtics are unwilling to sacrifice attendance and ratings in an era when the Bruins, Patriots and Red Sox are perpetual contenders.

If Dwight Howard is shipped to his preferred destination of Brooklyn-via-New Jersey this week, it could actually open the door to deadline moves in Boston. Under the new CBA, the Celtics have to spend 85% of the cap next year and with no major free agent prizes available, there may be an opportunity to make use of some of that coming cap space in advance, provided any incoming parts fit Boston’s long term strategy.

Speaking of which…

***

The Chris Wilcox injury piled on top of the Jermaine O’Neal injury should shatter any hopes of the Celtics making a deep run in the playoffs. But, of course, it won’t. And if the Celtics don’t deal off some or all of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, they cannot send them down the stretch without reinforcements at the center and/or power forward spot.

But what do those reinforcements look like?

This is a real dilemma for the Celtics because Ainge has been very convincing when he says he won’t trade off future assets (think Avery Bradley and any first round draft picks) in the interest of the 2011-12 season which is not going to end with a championship no matter what he does. I can’t imagine Ainge cares about the Celtics making it to the second round of the playoffs, putting up a good final fight and losing. The players might find satisfaction in that struggle, and ownership would be enticed by the gates, but Ainge strikes me as too rational for a Hail Mary move.

So, if it’s not a complete deconstruction this week, it could be addition by leftovers, buyouts and castoffs. None of those appeals much to the fanbase, but there’s a long game going here, and it might be tough to see it from the cheap seats.

  • John V

    I was in favor of breaking up the team and starting over, if good trades could be found, but at this point, it's too late for that, and clearly Ainge doesn't plan to blow things up.

    The Nets are looking to slash salary for 2012-2013, and as mentioned on CelticsHub, the Wizards are desperate to dump Andre Blatche, and willing to part with Javale McGee to do it. So:

    Celtics send (expiring contracts) O'Neal, Wilcox, and Pavlovic/Daniels to New Jersey; New Jersey sends Jordan Farmar and Damion Jones to Washington, and Johan Petro to the Celtics; and the Wizards send Blatche and McGee to the Celtics. I think this gives the Nets and Wizards what they want enough that the Cs could probably get a decent draft pick along with the frontcourt help.

    Of course, all three players I'm suggesting they take are wildly inconsistent head cases, but talented and healthy. I seriously doubt it puts the Cs over the top, but it could be fun to see what Javale McGee could do against the Heat frontcourt when he's the fifth best player on his team. It's a big risk, but if you're not going to get a high lottery pick or sign Dwight Howard, then it could be the best option.

    • jujubean

      I like this deal, cuz it'd make the C's a deeper team, and we would get rid of the corpses of 4 players that I find just useless, except for Wilcox

    • sightline75

      Why? Why?……….Why would anyone want JO? Like all trades that fans suggest, there is no balance. Washington get nothing. They need to start making John Wall happy so why trade for nothing? If you think free agents hate Boston then they would rather go to hell than play in Washington, so the Wizards need to find a suitable trading partner, to get any value. Trading any of the big three will not get the pieces we need, holding on to them may give us incredible depth next year if we can secure some decent starters. The league is gearing up to lower the wages of all players, old expensive contracts that go into 2013-2014 are dead weight, so guys like Rondo are gold, great production for a reasonable price. We should be looking for undervalued players, Mayo is a good example, who we can build a team around that will have PP and RR as starters and KG and Ray coming off the bench. Look for a good all around team where the second unit is as effective as the first and you will win alot of games. Even LBJ cant play a full game.

      • John V

        Of course they don't want JO. For the Nets and the Wizards, it is addition by subtraction. The Nets want to clear contracts off their books for next season. I saw there's a new article on CelticsHub saying cap space is overrated, but I'm going by what I've read. They don't like Petro, Farmar seems to be restless, and they want more room next year. Plus, to be cynical, for this year, they probably want to lose a lot, to get a better draft pick.

        This all presumes they will be keeping Deron Williams. If they're not sure about that, then of course they'll want to keep Farmar. But depending on what they're thinking, they could save millions of dollars, increase their flexibility, and score a better lottery pick by making this trade.

        For Washington, they desperately want to be rid of Blatche, who is a cancer to the team, and they don't seem certain that McGee will ever turn things around. Getting Farmar would allow they to _try_ playing Wall off the ball. Wall probably doesn't want to play the 2, but he's not impressing anyone at the 1, so they might want to give it a shot.

        I don't know what the Nets' or Wizards' GMs are truly thinking, but based on what I've read, this trade gives them what they want.

  • Hearts & Bones

    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=7ajh7… +plus a first rounder to Wash?

    Didn't know Blatche was under contract for 4 more seasons. Kinda a scary thought

  • lakershater13

    Dooling to anyone for anything!

  • ElRoz

    I too pondered that about 1 month ago….as I said then, I would hate to see KG (especially KG) go..then again I would hate to see Pierce go and Ray Allen as well. I also entertain some weird hope that if KG and Ray are kept this season, Boston could sign them for low money – a veteran's minimum? – next year. You will not do better than KG – the man can still play his roles next year better than any auxiliary player you will bring in. Period. And having Ray come off the bench next year is also not bad at all. But that's in the realm of fantasy at least because I have no idea what Danny Ainge knows about such a scenario or if there have been talks about this….maybe if Ainge does not make a move – that would mean he might have a quiet agreement with KG and Ray about coming back here next year as role players if he keeps them in Boston – that would be AWESOME!

    Of course another option would be to, as the Hub wrote, "bottom out" and get rid of KG and Ray (the only way you're going to bottom out), and maybe shut down Paul and Rondo – why risk playing them? – and go get another pick and maybe even get something back for KG and Ray in the draft? So you'd have several picks plus salary space to boot.

    Overall, I would never underestimate the value that Doc and Danny place on their players who know the team and the system, and here KG and Ray – if they could be had for a low-ball money, let's be frank – would be as good if not better than any other starters and/or role players Boston might bring in next season.

    It sucks that Wilcox and JO just both went down….right now, if Danny could get a C/PF that can go in and bang around, Boston might be a playoff spoiler for a #1-2-3 seed in the East.

  • ElRoz

    If Boston could get some young talent and/or bring in a major free agent – an all star or two – then KG and Ray would be excellent role players, even coming of the bench.

  • skeeds

    I think we generally read the situation as much worse than it is. Ok, there has been a very recent, very long, bad era for this team, and everyone's scared that we're doomed to end up in the same position post big 3.

    But let's cool off a bit. Why should it be do or die? Why should we go into panic mode just because we're not championship caliber? We have no reason of trading KG or Ray, to get mediocre players in return. We have no reason to bottom out to get in the lottery. And we sure as hell don't have a reason to trade a top 5 PG for who knows what.

    The best way to rebuild is not to go through "rebuilding". This summer, the C's will have a great PG, a great coach, an all star veteran, a couple of picks in a loaded draft, and a pile of cash to start rebuilding. That's as good as it gets.

    • CG12

      We don't rebuild, we reload. Or at least we do now that Rick Pitino and Chris Wallace are long gone.

  • Guest

    The Sox are contenders?

  • CG12

    I think the bottom line of the post is spot on – there is likely no home run move available at a reasonable price. PR and tasty playoff revenue are enough to be okay with sticking with basically what we already have for this season. The long-term plan to restructure in this off-season still makes a lot of sense and looks very appealing. Keep the old dogs around and any run they make this year will burnish their legacies and keep Boston on the radar as a place players can come to be a serious play off contender. Maybe pick up a couple of pieces during the rest of this year, with an eye towards next year. Hope to re-sign Ray and KG at vet complementary player deals. Try and sign one big second-tier free agent. Get Jeff Green on board after very wisely treating him carefully, to make him want to come back. Things look good for the long-term and it isn't worth putting that at risk for a low probability gamble on this year, which is probably the only thing available in the trade market.

  • Mark

    There is a rumor going around that Boston has a deal in place to reacquire Perkins from OKC in exchange for JO's expiring, Steimsma and LAC's pick.

    LOL… I'd love to see CelticsHub weigh in on that one.

    • John V

      The problem with that is that Perk is not a very good basketball player. Yes, we loved him, and he had chemistry with the old team. But the chemistry is shot by now. We loved Walter too. We thought Antoine was a piece to build around. Sometimes we lose perspective, LOL. Perk is now overpaid for what he does.

  • Jon(Celticsfan4life)

    The Celtics will end up waiving Wilcox to grab another mid-level and J.O will be out for the season to clear more bench seats.

    Michael Beasely (t-wolves)
    Chris Anderson (nuggets)

    Trade for these guys and make a final run for the title.. and Yes we still have a chance

  • tbunny

    It's been conventional wisdom all season that the celtics can't contend without another legitimate big body to go with KG.And I agreed with this. But recently, the way KG is playing at 5, his new found confidence chemistry with Bass, have started to turn me. Did we not just see KG and Bass and to a lesser extent Stiensma absolutely hang with the Laker bigmen? Is it possible that KG is finally refinding his championship mojo? You say, well, how do they counter the Heat, who have super talent 2-4? Well, the celtics do have a very effective and long defender, Pietrus. And Pierce is no slouch. I refuse to believe it's impossible.

    • Lantrell Walker

      It's not impossible for the C's to contend at all, they're probably the #1 sleeper team in the NBA after all. KG at the 5 has been great, but imagine the load that would be lifted off KG if he played next to a C that averaged about 9-12 RPG. The C's can compete with any team in the NBA in a 7-game series, but when it comes down to beating Miami, Chicago or Los Angeles, we need to be able to rebound effectively.

    • Rav

      The problem is that hanging with Lakers doesn't mean anything anymore. If our team can handle MIA, CHI and OKC we're good. If we're beating other teams, it doesn't make our title hopes more legitimate.

  • W2.

    Chris Anderson for JO and a second rounder. Nugs clear cap space and we get some help. I would happily throw in Etwaan Moore.

  • NICK33

    Posted this before at the tail end of a comment thread but will put it out there again.

    As Portland's season continues to tailspin out of control, Boston can offer them financial relief effective at the end of this season. Send JO & Dooling (and the Clippers pick if necessary) to POR in exchange for Gerald Wallace.

    The Celts can then bring him off the bench as to wreak havoc (score, defend, rebound) and he'd be a great running partner for Rondo. His contract is reasonable (2yrs, 18m) and wouldn't significantly impede Ainge's rebuilding plans. Though it leaves Boston a little short on size this season, I think it would give us a puncher's chance in the playoffs. We might also try and pry Kurt Thomas from them. Add Marquis or Sasha (although I have a soft spot for the Serbian) and now the frontcourt doesn't look so bad – especially if Wilcox returns.

    C Garnett Thomas Steamed Hams
    PF Bass Wilcox Johnson
    SF Pierce Wallace Pavlovic
    SG Allen Pietrus Moore
    PG Rondo Bradley

    • Lantrell Walker

      I would love that, the combined defensive intensity of Bradley, Pietrus & Wallace would be awesome to watch. It'd help Pierce & Allen a lot in the playoffs too because you can rest the both of them knowing that your're in good hands with Pietrus & Wallace guarding Wade & James.

  • noche

    I don't know about all these trades people are proposing on here. I don't think there is a good understanding of what it takes to make a trade work. No one wants JO's expiring contract and any Dooling/Moore/Bradley/Johnson/Daniels combination for a solid role player. That's just not going to happen. The only real moveable pieces the C's have are the big 4.

    I tend to be in the Bill Simmons (his latest article is actually good, crazy I know) school of thought that I would rather see the big 4 go down swinging one more time than blow it up now.

  • Mike

    Honestly DeGama I do not understand why you are so in favor of trading away the big 3. You are never going to get close to equal value in return. I understand all of this looking toward the future stuff, but honestly we are not in a bad place at all if we don't trade them. I'd like to point something out that it seems NO ONE has been talking about: The big 3 have not been the problem. They have actually played really well this season and have been pretty healthy. The problem has been that everyone around them has been getting hurt. JO, Bass, Wilcox, Pietrus, etc have all missed way more time than the big 3. Why in the world trade 3 of your 4 best players when they are the only ones on your team who are staying healthy and playing well? Also, as a fan, I still absolutely love this team. Games like the one against the Clippers, the game against the Knicks, etc are why I watch basketball. Seeing them battle out there and play the game the way it is supposed to be played is just a beautiful thing to watch. They compete every game and leave it all out on the court. Look around the league at teams like the Knicks who have so much talent but they can't control their egos for the better of the team. We are lucky that we get to watch this team play and the Boston media/blogs take that for granted with their non stop complaining and negative light on everything. Look at the positive side for once. We are going to make the playoffs, we have a team of players who love to play the game, love to compete. We are going to have a ton of cap space this summer and have some good draft picks in a deep draft. Enjoy it!

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