Post-game Reactions

In an Insider-protected trade deadline review column, Chad Ford calls the Celtics the biggest losers of all the 14 teams that didn’t make a deal. He writes:

Ainge sounds like he worked the phones hard but just couldn’t seal a deal. Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett hit free agency this summer. What exactly is the Celtics’ plan for rebuilding this franchise? Celtics fans could be in for another long, painful rebuilding phase.

The fan reaction to Danny Ainge sitting on his hands at the deadline has been net positive, probably in reaction to how badly things went when Danny tried to be proactive last year. But let’s try to lay out Chad’s thought process here, as an oppositional view:

Danny had the opportunity yesterday to make a choice about this Boston team: is this the last year they have a chance at the title, or is it the last year to get value for his older assets and start rebuilding? If he decided they had a chance at the title, Danny could have dealt his expiring contracts, his younger players, or one or both of his draft picks and given them some help. (For example: he couldn’t have beat an offer of Jonny Flynn, Hasheem Thabeet, and a second-rounder for Marcus Camby?) But if he thought they didn’t have a chance, then he could have dealt some of his older players so they wouldn’t just depreciate to zero.

Instead, Danny did nothing. And because it might have been the last year to make either of those choices, the Celtics are now stuck in a weird netherzone where they didn’t improve their odds for this season and might have simultaneously set themselves up for irrelevance down the line.

Yesterday wasn’t a complete disaster by any means: a truly stupid move would have set the team back more than doing nothing at all did. But it was still an opportunity to give the team some actual direction, and Danny passed.

He passed because his instinct is to start rebuilding, but the ownership was pushing him to keep the core of stars intact to maintain fan interest. The Celtics bandwagon has expanded over the last four years such that a lot of fans are really more devoted to the players than the franchise, and there’s nothing wrong with that. These fans love the Big Three and want to see them buried in their uniforms. And because fans like that compose the majority of the base now, Danny and the ownership are beholden to their wishes.

But after the Big Three retire and the team is two years behind in its rebuilding phase, will those fans stick around?

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Hayes Davenport

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  • CG12

    It's easy to say Danny passed when you don't know what was out there. Not many top tier players moved, so that tells me that the GMs making/taking offers for those players weren't feeling a lot of pressure to do deals. Meaning Danny would may have had to force it to make something happen. The NBA has a limited pool of teams and a limited pool of players. Sometimes, the right deals just aren't available. And so this may be the best of a number of underwhelming options. It would have been nice to do a deal to improve the team's future prospects, but you don't do deals for the sake of doing deals.

    Ford is seriously guilty of Monday morning quarterbacking. Danny has earned the benefit of the doubt from me. This is going to work out for the Cs.

    • mmTOS

      100% Agree. Couldn't have said it better, I'm glad he didnt just do a trade to do a trade.

  • jason

    Getting young talent back for older players would mean longer contracts and less flexibility in the off season. We are set to be huge players this off season. Chad needs to get a clue.

  • The Cardinal

    Bulldookey, Mr. Ford. Hush yo' crazy talk cuz Boston is absolutely no worse off regarding next year, and could still tweak the bench this year with a 4 or 5 that could help the title run.

  • Lantrell Walker

    I for one applaud DA on his decision not to blow up the core, besides all the rumored deal we heard over the last two months only benefited teams trading with the C's and not the Celtics themselves. No one outside of Boston is giving the C's a chance in the postseason & I'm sure we're all fine with that, that's one of the beauties of this team, they fly under the radar & peak at the right time. All we need to do now is pick up a few more pieces(like Kaman off a buyout) before the playoffs begin & the C's will be in business. Hindsight is 20/20 Chad & we've seen this group rise above expectations before(remember 2010?).

  • noche

    I don't think the C's could have offered anything to get Camby – He is in the twilight of his career and he owns 2 off season homes near Houston. He has been requesting to play there for a long time seems like Portland was going to get rid of him anyway so might as well get some expirings out of it and keep him happy. I agree with CG12 in that there wasn't a blockbuster move to be made for anyone this season.

    Of the players who moved only Nene (and Camby) were the type of player the C's were looking for but you don't break up the Big 4 for Nene, which most likely would have to happen to get him. Plus he just signed an extension this season so he would be on the books for a few years (don't remember the details).

  • michaelmarlow

    Sorry don't buy it. Sounds like by doing nothing, we either gave up solid younger prospects that would tie up our cap or mid to low draft picks (two at best). Just doesn't sound like we screwed the pooch for rebuilding to me. Also, if Danny had a deal he liked, PP or Ray would be gone; I don't think he was beholden to the binkinity of Wyc or the fans.

  • NHBluesMan

    since the Trail Blazers were unloading, i wonder if they would've been willing to part with Lamarcus Aldridge… probably not for anything we offered though

    • mmTOS

      Absolutely not, he's there franchise player that hasn't succomb to injury. He wasnt going anywhere.

  • IBleedGreen

    The fact is that there is no trade out there that will make this year's team a championship contender. Let's just sit tight and enjoy the last year of the Big 3 era.

  • ElRoz

    Danny didn't get rid of Bradley or J. Johnson – that was the right non-move.

    For the next season, Danny probably realizes – or knows – that he could re-sign KG and Ray (especially KG) to much less money, maybe even a minimum like Shaq and have these guys play as role players, perhaps off the bench…they would reward – one hopes; DA might know – this loyalty by staying with the team, Doc, system that kept them. It is unlikely that there would be a veteran role player better than KG considering what KG does…and Ray Allen would be a quality role guy of the bench as well.

    So I would not be surprised if KG and Ray are back here next year at low cost…in addition to two quality free agents signed as starters, perhaps with Jeff Green to boot.

    • jordi

      and that would definitively be the right move. I am tired of whiners that call blow up. This team can compete. We have seen the celtics consistently on the play offs last years. remember the last 20 years? Pay some respect to this team you all. Those players are great. And Rondo is for me, after 30 years watching bball, te best unconventional bball point guard ever, capable of just impossible performances. This teaam is great, ant¡d the better we can have. We are not getting any lebron james from anywhere. But we can compete with anyone. Low cost KG and Ray plus a couple solid additions would be a solid team.

      • jordi

        and our best option for contending.period

    • smalltownID

      I am surprised this hasn't come up earlier about re-signing the vets as "role players". This could just be aesthetically appealing. I wonder if they can really be role players on old legs but I guess as long as they stay healthy enough to play solid defense it could work.

      Wouldn't that be sweet? The big 3 totally change the paradigm when they joined forces and then change it once again as vet role players if Boston were to pick up a good shooting guard and a center and make a Championship run. Not likely, but interesting to think about.

      • smalltownID

        I realize there are veteran role players but for the Big 3 as a unit to transition to coming off the bench is different than Grant Hill being pertinent late in his career.

  • Phil

    The key point that seems like its being overlooked is that the big three has no significant trade value. Big expiring contracts are constantly overrated, and there weren't any bad teams pushing hard to unload a good player for expirings this year. Given that, the market for players like KG and Allen was limited to playoff teams, and them giving up more than late first round picks and cap filler counteracts the benefit they get from the trade. Letting the big three's contracts expire isn't much worse than trading one of them for the 28th pick in the draft.

    As far as Rondo, he's going to be an all star level point guard with a favorable contract for a while. There's no real deadline on deciding whether to build around him or trade him.

    The Celtics may be in a bad rebuilding spot soon, but not trading expiring contracts for late picks didn't seal their fate or anything. They made their beds long ago.

  • LACelticFan

    So Flynn is better than who exactly on our roster? And Thabeet??? Really??? That is a complete laugher. Please just let Steimer play if you wanna consider going to get Thabeet. I do think Chad Ford smoked something not too valuable when trying to dissect DA, Doc, and the Boston Celtics. We will still be a major player/payer for OJ Mayo/Kris Humphries/Eric Gordon/Nick Young/Chase Budinger/Jeff Green/JJ Hickson/etc. I'm sure with only 4 players under contract DA will be aggressive before he turns to Ray/Kevin/Mickeal/Brandon to revamp though not entirely the team.
    BTW I am hoping for OJ Mayo and a trade of draft picks for Brook Lopez. Then bring everyone not named Sasha, Dooling, Quis back.

    • hdavenport

      Don't think anybody's suggesting that the Celtics should have gone after Thabeet or Flynn.

  • Anthony

    Celts have 6 players under contract – Rondo, Pierce, Bradley, JJJ, Moore, Bass (player option). Even if KG, Ray, Green, Wilcox come back, that still leaves 5 open roster spots. With lots of cap room and multiple 1st and 2nd round draft picks, how is the Celts worse off?

    Chad Ford is pretty ridiculous in his assessment of DA's non-move. Unless Portland was willing to take their pick of JO, Quis, Sasha, or Dooling, it make no sense for Celts to make that trade.

  • yourdumb

    Your not getting brooke lopez for picks you idiot. The mets wouldnt trade lopez to the magic for howsrd wtf would the trade him to the celtics for 2 early 20 1st round picks? Dumb.

    • LACelticFan

      Lopez is a RFA, one year left on his deal, with a player option for only a million dollar increase. If he feels he is worth more and tired of the traded for Howard noise, he can opt out. And yes we could get him for a creative use of draft picks and maybe even a third team. Pipedream but not so much as Dwight choosing to come to Boston.

  • Dino

    I'm glad Ainge kept the team together. The title is a long shot, but I'm glad we now have a chance to take that shot one last time.

  • I_Love_Green

    It was the right move considering what we have going into the off season. Two draft picks, one presumably in the teens, and a ton of cap space. I honestly see us making a trade to fill up that cap space, and we'll be back to contending soon after.

    • Anthony

      We have two 2nd round picks also… from Milwaukee but top 44 protected.

  • Yeah

    ^ lulz

    Actually though, I don’t think it would be so hard to unhinge Lopez from the Nets. They clearly lost out on Howard, and D-Will is gone. They should be looking for young players now. I think they’d probably like some picks.

  • Yeah

    (lulz was at Hayes)

  • hdavenport

    Jeff Howe at NESN: Celtics are losers

    Mike Prada at SBN: Celtics are winners

    Kurt Helin at PBT: Celtics are neither

  • skeeds

    Yeah right, whatever. This sounds more like the opinion of a frustrated Clippers fan that wanted Ray-Ray to fill that SG hole in their lineup. Or a <<insert NBA team here>>'s fan that would just looooooooove to grab Rondo for peanuts.

    Sometimes people forget that the character this team presents to it's fanbase is more important than everything, even rings. Especially now. The C's one way or an other, are gonna go through a longer or shorter hard stretch soon.
    For the C's fans, it's of outmost importance how we enter this new era. Trading the legends, OUR legends, for whatever talent or future picks and basically accomplish nothing, is not a good first step.
    It's not Fisher Ainge was trying to trade, (for a better player, even), it's 3 top 50 all time players. You take those guys away from the fans, you better bring a god damn game changer in their places. If not, then forget about it.

    Remember how Boston reacted to Perk being traded? Now imagine trading KG.
    Yep, my point exactly.

    • Anthony

      Awesome point. All these crazy excuses about Rondo's moodiness/ issues were just trying de-value him so they can get him for "peanuts". I bet you 28 other teams (not including the Bulls) would love to have his contract and floor leadership. He controlled the tempo and thoroughly outplayed CP3. Aside from a few flops, CP3 was useless in the Clippers/Celts game.

  • tbunny

    So the celtics missed out on 37 year old Marcus Camby? Please.

    I think Ainge is very interested in resigning Garnett and Allen to smaller contracts. Which he should be. Bring back everybody but land a quality big man in the 10-15 million range.

  • Chris from Danvers

    Not sure what Chad for is thinking – not that thinking is his strong suit. In this particular circumstance, the trade that was not made was better than a trade that was made.

    From the sounds of things, there was not much doing for the Celtics. They either had to take bits parts, salary, or pieces that were not part of the future. In my book, it doesn't make sense.

    Ainge and Doc seemed pretty adamant about only doing a trade that would have value now and in the future. Because that was not possible, Ainge did the only thing he could do. Keep the flexibility for next year (or the year after). It you call that "losing" then count me in. The rebuilding process doesn't have to be long. Get a series of pieces – and the Celtics have a few – then you can go in many directions. Next year is the bridge and the team will climb back upward.

  • Feresa211

    Get a series of pieces – and the Celtics have a few – then you can go in many directions. Next year is the bridge and the team will climb back upward. I like that essay-help