The Celtics did not trade Jeff Green (or anyone else) at the trade deadline this year, even though there is a strong likelihood they had an interest in moving him and other veterans on the roster. NBA.com’s David Aldridge jam-packed Morning Tip column today explored some of the ins and outs of the trade deadline, which included some commentary from a GM on why Green’s deal couldn’t fetch enough on the market for Ainge to move him.
“Firsts are so valuable with the new rules and tax,” an Eastern Conference GM texted Sunday. “For the better teams who are picking late as well as teams close to the tax, they are so valuable because you can get players on cheap contracts and control them for four years.”
A Western Conference GM pointed out something else important as well: The new CBA has shorter max lengths for contracts (four to sign another team’s free agents; five to re-sign your own). Those shorter deals are less attractive to trade for.
“Jeff Green is only under contract for one year [before his player option],” the GM texted, referring to the Celtics’ veteran forward. “Expiring contracts used to get contracts [in trades] for three to five years. That was worth a first.”
And, of course, you can’t ignore the possibility that at least a few teams were likely keeping their powder dry for the next few summers, with their potential bonanza of free agents. No, the SuperFriends are not going to visit every team with cap room if they all opt out. But there are both superstar and solid players available this summer (Carmelo Anthony, Luol Deng, Danny Granger), in 2015 (Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre Jordan) and in 2016 (Kevin Durant, Al Horford, David Lee).
CH’s Analysis: This really shouldn’t come as a major surprise to Celtics fans. The fact of the matter is not only is Green on a relatively short-term deal at this stage of his career, it’s also not a team-friendly deals. Green right now, is simply not worth over $9 million dollars a season to anyone in this league. The larger point stands though for other deals like Bass that weren’t moved. He’s signed to a much more reasonable $6.5 million dollars per year, but is only signed through next season, limiting his value to his suitors.
Unless you are giving up an attractive asset for two full seasons, it’s going to be tough to fetch a first round pick from any team in this new-look market. That’s why the Celtics having nine of them over the next five years should put in the driver seat to make some major moves once this offseason rolls around.