This is an actual picture of the Celtics newcomers.
Aside from some slight cropping, this is the actual reaction from Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, and Kris Humphries (courtesy of my main man Gethin Coolbaugh (or as I call him “Coolbaugh Gooding Jr”) of BostonSportsToday.net). As far as I’m concerned, none of these guys have reason to be THAT disappointed.
I get it. They went to sleep one night members of a playoff team and woke up with locker stalls next to Fab Melo. It sucks. Except when you consider who these guys are. Bogans, a career three and D guy, is making more money this season than he has in the last four. Brooks wasn’t getting any time last season and now is looking at 20+ minutes a night. And Humphries, well, could you have least held the jersey up, buddy? It ain’t on fire.
Pushing aside the real world reasons why these guys should be happy to play for the Boston Celtics, my theory for their missing exuberance is two-fold:
1) They know that no one in Boston, least of which Danny Ainge, wanted to do this trade.
These guys are all veterans. They presumably understand the salary cap well know to know that they are filler (save for Brooks). In a perfect world, the Nets and Celtics would be trading buckets, not players. Ainge saw the writing on the wall and made the deal he had to make, not the deal he wanted to make. It’s hard not to really be wanted but they could have at least feigned something resembling excitement.
2) All of these guys (again, save for Brooks) have a good chance of not being on the roster by the end of the season.
Humphries is a double-whammy of an asset: he’s a big expiring contract and not terrible. He should look pretty desireable to a team looking to shed some salary. The Celtics, however, have to be shrewd about how they use Humphries. Ideally, they would want a trade exception that they can use to sign players next year. If they have to take back salary, they need to make sure they get young talent in return; not easy.
Lost in all the excitement of Bogans entering a new tax bracket is the fact he is also an expiring contract. Sure, in order to sign and trade a player the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) forces the team accepting the player to give said player a three year contract. The CBA, however, doesn’t say anything about years two and three being guaranteed. Thus, Bogans becomes another expiring contract who is also a valuable veteran to a contending team.
Wallace is another story. He has three more years left on his current deal, paying him a little over 10 million per season. It will be really hard for the C’s to find a willing trade partner unless they give up something valuable. I’ll be the first to say that Danny Ainge is not going to give up a first round pick just to dump Wallace. The situation has to be that special kind of perfect where there’s a team making a playoff push that needs an extra on-ball defender and is willing to trade an expiring contract or have cap space to absorb the contract; like with Humphries, this is not easy.
The trade was consumated late last week but the press conference was scheduled for today. There is no doubt in my mind that Ainge and crew were working the phones all weekend, trying to find a trade partners in order to avoid the awkwardnessthat went down. He wasn’t able to get it done but he hinted that he wasn’t done tinkering with the roster today to Comcast SportsNet New England’s Kyle Draper, saying, “Come on, we just traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, our two best players. How can you guarantee anything in this business? Were still looking to have a team that we like. We have some objectives that we’d like to still accomplish before the summer’s over. Whether we can or not we don’t know but there’s no guarantees in this business.”
Translation: Veterans for sale!
I’m confident that Ainge can get something done. As we all know, when Danny goes full “Ainge” he stops at nothing. Not even tackling Tree Rollins.
We’ll explore some trade possibilities later on this week.