The trade deadline is a week away and one refrain that I keep hearing is that "you can't trade Avery Bradley." Well, as you can tell from the post title, I respectfully disagree. Don't get me wrong, I don't necessarily want to end the Bradley era in Boston after only half a year, and if you believe the rumors coming out of Waltham the Celtics don't want to either.
In a perfect world, Avery would be allowed to develop his game management skill and take advantage of his already NBA ready defensive skills. He would be groomed to be the backup point guard of the future to play behind and sometimes alongside Rajon Rondo for years. The problem is that same old "window" issue and the mounting injuries have kicked any notion of a "perfect world" to the curb long ago.
One option (some would argue the first option) would be to watch the waiver wire closely and see if anyone could be plucked off the open market to come in and be a stopgap type of guy. Nothing special, just a guy to eat minutes and be available to fill in if Pierce had to miss a couple of games. Not unlike Mike Finley did for Ray Allen last year.
But Marquis Daniels was providing more than that and it hurts us to not have his production and intangibles on the court when Pierce has to come out of the game. I'd love to get a guy like Shane Battier or Tayshaun Prince but I don't think the numbers work out on a deal that would make sense for both sides. Still, that's the kind of clear value-add kind of guy that would be worth giving up Bradley in a package deal.
Danny has to keep one eye on the future and I don't want to leave the sheves bare any more than the next guy. I remember the rebuilding years as vividly as anyone. Still, I keep coming back to that window. We thought it might be closing last year, and we got a 2 year (at least) extension on the core unit playing together. In fact, that's going better than many thought would be possible (especially at this time last year - remember the Ray Allen shooting slump and the trade rumors surrounding him?). Still, this might be our last shot at a banner. There might not be a season next year and as of now it is just Pierce, Rondo, and Bradley under contract 2 years from now.
Anything can happen and there are too many scenarios that could play out to be able to plan perfectly for the future. Will Bradley turn into a very good rotation player or is he another Marcus Banks? Will the Big 3 sign short term extensions to age gracefully into backup roles while Ainge reloads on the fly? Or will they simply hang the sneakers up and call it a career (or be forced to due to injury)? I don't know and frankly I'd like to put thoughts of that away until at least the offseason.
Right now, however, we have an opportunity for a championship. Even the most storied NBA franchise in history can't afford to take that for granted. For the right kind of missing piece I would absolutely trade Avery Bradley.
(Note: even as I finish this article, I have to admit that I spent 20 minutes looking for deals that would make sense and haven't found one yet. I would likely give up our first rounder to swap Marquis Daniels for either Anthony Parker or Josh Howard, but I I'm not sure I'd want to include Bradley to make it happen when they might be waived anyway).