The Celtics are 19-35, well on their way to a good draft pick, and staring down the barrel of a brutal month of March. As the trade deadline approaches, one would expect Boston to be looking to sell and sell hard, right?
Probably, yes, but maybe not according to Celtics radio play-by-play announcer Sean Grande.
“It’s not going to surprise me if the Celtics suddenly became surprise buyers at the deadline instead of sellers,” Grande told the Arbella Early Edition crew on CSNNE.
Grande’s quote, in context, was referring to the possibility that Boston might follow a similar rebuilding model to 2007, when they dealt a massive collection of assets to Minnesota for Kevin Garnett. As Grande noted, the likelihood of a player like Garnett becoming available isn’t high, so if the opportunity to chase such a player presented itself — if, for example, Kevin Love or a similar superstar asked to be traded — the Celtics would likely try to take the bait, offering draft picks and expiring contracts.
So is it possible the Celtics will make a big trade at the deadline in an effort to (wait for it…) get better?
No, probably not. Sorry for all the preamble, but it’s incredibly unlikely.
Please note: Grande has covered the Celtics for much longer than I have, and he has considerably better access to the team. That being said, the list of superstars who would fit Boston’s qualifications this season is pretty minimal. This superstar would need to be at least three or four of the following five things:
1. Disgruntled (ruling out Kevin Durant or any other superstar on a contender, obviously).
2. A game-changing force (ruling out borderline All-Stars like Eric Gordon).
3. Willing to sign with Boston long-term (ruling out anyone antsy to contend immediately, ie. Kevin Love).
4. A good fit with Rondo (ruling out Josh Smith). Quick tangent: Finding a good fit with Rondo isn’t actually very hard, since Rondo is a fantastic point guard, but Smith — who has been tied up in Celtics rumors for years — would be a terrible fit given his lack of spacing and his complete lack of good decision making.
5. A bad fit on their current team AND a good fit on the Celtics (ruling out any point guard and most power forwards).
How many potential trade targets are we left with? Precious few. The only player I can think of who might make some sense is Greg Monroe, since the Pistons aren’t surrendering Andre Drummond for anyone on the Celtics (including Rondo), and even Monroe would probably be an extremely tough get for the Celtics given the lack of equivalent young talent on the team. Jeff Green and first-round picks might be enough to get the job done, but the Celtics would be clear winners of that trade. Any time a team is a clear winner of a deal, it’s probably not going to happen.
That’s the difficulty in any potential big deal as we approach the trade deadline: If there is a star player available, the question you need to ask yourself is this: “Could he be gotten for some combination of Jeff Green, Kris Humphries and mediocre first-round draft picks?” If the answer is “no,” realize that you are probably surrendering Rondo to you get him which seems to defeat the purpose of a big deal anyway.
If a team gets desperate, Ainge will certainly try to get opportunistic. But it’s pretty unlikely.
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