Our friend Zach Lowe, Celtics Hub’s departed senior writer, is quickly becoming a well-connected journalist in NBA circles through his work with Grantland.com. This morning, he released 32 bold predictions on the upcoming season, and one of his predictions — given both his insight and his connections — is pretty interesting.
From Lowe’s article:
But Boston will defend, despite a glaring lack of rim protection, and it will scrap its way to enough wins that eighth-seed dreams might seem plausible after 20 games. The Celtics wouldn’t mind their young guys getting to experience meaningful late-season games, but the guess here is that the front office would rather have at least one very nice first-round pick in a loaded draft. In other words, look for everyone to be on the table. Bass might be the most tradable guy, since he’s a solid player with just one year left on his contract after this season. But bigger names will come up. Jeff Green has fans around the league, and Rondo’s contract expires after next season. He has to prove his health again, but I’ve never gotten the impression Boston would be stoked to pay Rondo a max (or near-max) deal after 2015.
Lowe has a higher opinion of Boston’s chances this year than I do, but he’s also considerably smarter than me, so there’s that.
The idea that Boston wouldn’t like to pay Rondo a max or near-max deal after 2015 is both interesting and a little surprising, but it may get even more interesting pending next offseason’s free agency. You may recall that as recently as early in the 2012-13 season, some writers believed some team was going to bite and give Brandon Jennings a max deal. Obviously, Rondo is much better than Brandon Jennings, but it’s possible that the market price of flawed-but-extremely-talented guards is lower than it was a few years ago.
Perhaps the most interesting name in this bunch is Jeff Green. After last offseason, Green’s contract was considered toxic, and midway through the year, it was likely even more so.
Although Green’s second half turnaround was impressive, it has felt kind of insulated — people who watch the Celtics frequently have a warming opinion of Green’s skills but people on the outside still dislike the $9.4 million he’ll be owed between 2014 and 2016. Apparently, that mindset is shifting a little bit as people recognize what Celtics fans have been seeing.
The problem is that whether or not other teams are interested, for Green to keep his trade value high(ish), he’ll need to keep his production similar to last season. If he does that (16 points per 36 minutes, nearly 40% from 3-point range), he’ll ingratiate himself not only with Boston’s fans, but also with the front office which will be more likely to overvalue him and, by extension, avoid trading him.
It’s a bit of a conundrum, and something to keep an eye on going forward. Either way, expect to hear every player on the Celtics roster mentioned in trade rumors this season.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.