It’s an ever-changing landscape on the trade market right now, with multiple reports coming in that talks between the Celtics and Clippers involving Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers are heating up yet again as we suspected. With an endless flurry of reports and tweets hitting the web at every hour, it’s time to separate the good information from the bad and break down the realistic trade possibilities out there.
—DeAndre Jordan has a trade kicker (15 percent) and is signed for two more seasons. He’s also handsomely overpaid.
—Caron Butler is an expiring contract (8 million). He’s like Paul Pierce, but without the rebounding or defense.
—Eric Bledsoe is a young promising point guard, but is only signed for 2013-14 season. He will be a restricted free agent after that.
—Jason Terry has a trade kicker (7.5 percent). He also has a sizable Celtics tattoo on his arm.
—Kevin Garnett is signed for two more years. The final year of his deal is only partially guaranteed (like Pierce is for next season) at six million dollars.
–All Clippers future draft picks will likely come late in the first round 24-30 range.
–All mentions of Doc Rivers imply that the Celtics would release him from his contract, not include him in a deal itself.
THE CELTICS NO-BRAINER
Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, and long term mid-level deal (Courtney Lee and/or Jason Terry) for DeAndre Jordan, Eric Bledsoe and multiple first round draft picks.
Analysis: A pipe dream for Ainge. He clears the long-term books, sending what would now be overpaid role players packing in Lee and Terry, while also coming out with additional assets (draft picks) and a promising prospect in Bledsoe that could be groomed or dealt for more assets.
I’m not crazy about Bledsoe and I think Jordan’s contract is a short-term albatross but even I would give that deal the green light. It’s safe to say the Clippers would balk at it. Clippers say no.
CELTICS GET FINANCIAL FLEXIBILITY
Kevin Garnett, Doc Rivers, Jason Terry and Courtney Lee for DeAndre Jordan, Caron Butler and draft picks
Analysis: Ainge continues to clear up the books for future cap space, but comes out with little else, because of it. The only benefits of this deal come well down the road, when Jordan’s deal expires after the 2014-15 season. My guess is Ainge would say yes to this kind of deal, but personally, I would balk at it. Just don’t feel like you’re getting enough value for Garnett. Clippers could balk as well due to long-term financial commitments, but Lee and Terry are both very serviceable players. There are far worse contracts out there.
CELTICS GET LIMITED FINANCIAL FLEXIBILITY
Rivers, KG, and Lee or Terry for Jordan, Butler and 1st round pick
Analysis: Now we are getting dangerously close to a trade, for the sake of making a trade. The only way a deal like this goes down is if the relationship with Doc is damaged to the point that there is no way he is coming back. With him refusing to return, there is no way Garnett wants to come back, as well as Pierce. Anything other than that scenario, makes me believe this is not worth moving Garnett for.
CELTICS GET DESPERATE
Garnett, Doc for Jordan and 1st round picks.
Analysis: The ultimate slap in the face for Celtics fans. Celtics gain no financial flexibility, take back a “questionable” asset in Jordan and a couple late first round picks and are also stuck with a bunch long-term mid-level deals that Ainge will be looking to dump in future moves.
WHAT HAPPENS TO PAUL PIERCE?
It’s fair to say if Doc and KG are sent packing, Pierce would be gone as well. If he plans on joining his crew in LA, the most plausible scenario would be for Pierce to be traded to a team that could take his cap hit before June 30th and then buy him out for 5 million. From there, Pierce could sign with Clips. Celtics would take the trade exception and probably send some cash to the team (and another asset) to make it worth their while to absorb Pierce’s deal and the eventual 5 million dollar cap hit. Not an ideal scenario by any means for Ainge, but allows him to at least get a trade exception to work with moving forward.
CELTICS RUN IT BACK
Analysis: It’s hard to imagine at this point, but if you trust Ainge to make the right move, this still has to be a viable option. Obviously there would be a fair amount of tinkering done with the supplementary pieces on the roster, but if you believe Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald (and I do) Ainge still is leaving the door open for Pierce/KG and company to be back for one final ride.
One other plausible scenario we are leaving out. Ainge and Doc working together on this, with the best interests of Celts in mind. Ainge likes to explore any possible scenario for his players and the only way KG would waive his no-trade clause is either a) Pierce goes with him (tough to do in a trade) or b) Rivers goes with KG as well. Ainge works to see if he can get an offer that makes sense for the future of C’s and walks away if it doesn’t come about.
A Rivers return at this point is likely a long shot, given how far down the road this has come, but stranger things have happened. If both guys have been upfront to be each other about everything, I could see it happening. It’s clearly tough to tell from afar, without knowing what has been said behind closed doors.
All in all, if Ainge is going to pull a trigger here on a franchise-altering deal, he can’t settle. He needs to hold out for real value for both his coach and best defender.