I think Trader Danny has made a deal every day this week. Seems like it anyway. But you know what? AWESOME! Hope he keeps it up.
So most of these deals have not been blockbusters. Apologies to the Jeff Green fans that think his deal was one. But each deal seems to have some sort of positive outcome for the Celtics.
Look, we are not going to know for possibly several years how this “era” of trading and tanking will eventually turn out. But based on how today’s NBA works and what the roster looked like before last year and then into this year, would there be a better way for Ainge to navigate the waters? I personally think not.
The biggest move was obviously the Rajon Rondo trade about a month ago. My distaste for all things Rondo is well documented, so admittedly there is a huge bias in this space. I think it was a great trade, based entirely on the circumstances. Many do not, based on ANY circumstances. But, in reality, can we judge the trade accurately at this very point in time? Probably not.
I’ve never really liked Rondo’s game from Day One. He is a very good player, no doubt. I’ve often been accused of saying he has sucked, but that is untrue. Just never a fan. I personally like my point guards to hit an open jumper and to hit free throws. After all, if one is going to handle the ball all the time, especially at the end of games, shouldn’t these be prerequisites? Why do you think that during the “Big Three” era, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce handled the ball at the end of games and not Rondo? Yup. He was a nice fit for those teams, since he was the 4th option or more. Not a great fit for the current squad…whatever variation you see out there each passing week.
Rajon even admitted that he basically stopped playing defense in recent years. Since he came into the league as a kind of defensive specialist…even dynamo at some points…this is kind of important to digest. Especially since the Celts inexplicably made him a captain last year. Not the type of leader I want for my team. Moody. Skipping a game to celebrate his birthday, when the team did not give him permission, Bad attitude. Etc.
For some reason, people did not remember (accept?) that he was in the last year of his contract. He wanted a max deal, the team wasn’t giving it to him. He was leaving and the time to deal him was any time this year (actually it was like 2-3 years ago, but again, just my opinion). People wanted to wait until closer to the deadline. For what? Did they think the C’s would get more at that time? Not likely.
Of course the return for Rondo was underwhelming. Jameer Nelson, Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, first round pick & second round pick. Yuck. AND they had to throw in the immortal Dwight Powell as a sweetener to get it done!! But they somehow turned Wright into a first rounder (ok, likely 2 seconds, but still). And they were able to shed Nelson’s salary next year (when he exercised his player option…since no one is giving him 3.2 mil this offseason) by swapping him for Nate Robinson’s expiring deal…and then bought out Robinson to save more dough. Crowder may or may not be a bench rotation guy for the C’s, they seem to like him. But with all the picks acquired, can people say this really was a BAD deal? Who knows yet? Hell, maybe Powell becomes a stud. Some jackass writer in Dallas apparently thinks he could be a good player, apparently after a 29 minutes stint in ONE game. Little early to get excited about a guy who has bounced around the league already after one game…but to each his own.
As for the Green deal and Green himself…well, Jeff’s tenure in Boston was certainly polarizing. Actually, not really, because most people hated him. Everyone was always frustrated with him because they thought he could have been so much more of a player than he was here, heart issues notwithstanding. A lot of people held the Kendrick Perkins trade for him against him too. Not me, I supported that trade, despite Perk’s obvious fit with the Big Three (similar to Rondo’s fit, for that matter). Story for a different day. Green always seemed to have the talent to be more in my eyes as well. But if it hasn’t happened by now, it looks like it will never happen.
You may think the Green deal was somewhat underwhelming as well. Maybe. But again, the C’s got a first rounder. And two guys that will turn into more as well. Austin Rivers has been shipped out for 2 bags of poop (Shavlik Randolph and Chris Douglas-Roberts) and a 2nd rounder. But it’s another pick. Side note: I wonder what the hell happened to Rivers? His 2.5 years in the NBA have been average, at best. Actually, not even average. But he is still only 22 and was highly touted going into and coming out of college. Not sure what’s up there. They also got Tayshaun Prince for Green, but as soon as they buy him out, there’s more cash available. All indications were that Green was going to opt out of his deal after this year and was not likely to come back either (if they even wanted that). So I guess that’s about as good as you can do for that bum.
One of Danny’s biggest deals this year was well before this recent binge. People don’t remember, since it happened in the summer. He was able to turn a 2nd round pick into a 1st rounder, Tyler Zeller (a serviceable backup big man…or a “sell high” candidate?) and Marcus Thornton (yet another trade bound to happen over the next few weeks).
And there is about a month before the trade deadline still. Along with completing buyouts with some of the recent new guys, and Thornton likely out, Brandon Bass seems to be a nice trade candidate as well. I actually like Bass. Think he’s a good bench guy, though how many of those can you have? His contract is up and I would think he has some value around the league, so I imagine he’ll be gone soon. Maybe Ainge can package some of the 2nd rounders with Gerald Wallace’s corpse and get someone to take that contract? Wishful thinking probably, but I bet he is trying!
The bottom line is, we are a looooooooong way from finding out how this will all come together in the coming years. The Celtics have a multitude of picks. They have many trade exceptions. They will have plenty of cap space and money to spend. They have some young talent on the roster currently, most that have shown promise to at least contribute somehow in the future. Not to mention that, although they are inexplicably only 2 games out of a playoff spot as I write this, they still do have the 6th worst record in the league. Could be another high draft pick upcoming from their own failings on the court.
It’s obviously what Danny does with what is outlined above that will tell the story. Can’t keep all the picks. He will probably offer max deals to some players…of course we know NBA free agents don’t love to come to Boston…but maybe with overpayments, money will talk? Lot of moving parts that won’t settle for years possibly.
We shall see. We all often joke about that Ainge is accumulating “assets”. He has “assets” to work with. And all that. Just not any real players coming in that can help, it seems. Right now anyway. But answer me this please: Was there a better route to take?
Posted on January 16, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged Assets, Austin Rivers, Boston Celtics, Brandon Bass, Danny Ainge, draft picks, Jeff Green, NBA, Rajon Rondo, Trade deadline, Trade exceptions, Trader Danny. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.