Here we are at the start of the trade season with a ton of ideas being put forward. Most revolve around the notion of needing a Center. The two that seem to be generating the most support are Asik and Monroe. Each has distinct qualities, so first, what is it that the Celtics' really need.
In the first 25 games, the Celts have 11 wins and 14 losses. They have no wins when they scored less than 90 points. They also have no losses when they scored 100 or more even though in three of those wins they allowed more than 100 points. Only twice have they lost when they held the other team below 90. Both times they failed to score 90 themselves.
The Celtics are fifth in least points allowed, but they are only 23rd in points scored. This tends to indicate that the defense is fine. It is on the offensive end where more help is needed.
While Asik is an elite defender, he gives little on offense. Per 36 his stats read 8.7 Points/ 13.3 Rebounds/ .8 Assists and per Synergy - Offense .83 ppp/ rank 262 & Defense .72 ppp/ rank 23. Also he is 27 years old and makes 8.3M.
Monroe on the other hand is about average on both ends. Per 36 his stats are 16 Points/ 9.5 Rebounds/ 2.4 Assists and per Synergy - Offense .92 ppp/ rank 161 & Defense .86 ppp/ rank 171. He is 23 years old and while he makes 4.1M this year, the wide belief is that he will get a max contract from somebody next year.
How about a third option? After suffering through three seasons in dysfunctional Sacramento and another three under Doug Collins, Spencer Hawes is quietly having a breakout year. His per 36 are 17.1 Points/ 10.1 Rebounds/ 3.4 Assists and per Synergy - Offense 1.01 ppp/ rank 63 & Defense .8/ rank 88. So he is not an elite rim protector, but a very good one, especially considering he plays along side Thad Young and Evan Turner, neither of which would be mistaken for defensive players. And his offense (which the Celts could use) is much better plus he shoots threes at 45% and free throws at 75% (Asik-0 and 64% - Monroe 0 & 63%). Hawes is 25 years old and is on a 6.5M expiring contract. If he worked out, I could see an extension somewhere between Tiago Splitter 8m a year money and Larry Sanders 12M a year. That would be very reasonable for that kind of production. If he doesn't work out he expires at the end of the season.
As is commonly known by now the Celtics have been linked as a possible third team in an Asik trade. Philly wants Asik, but Houston doesn't necessarily want their offer of Thad Young. So who would Houston get? I have read that McHale has told fellow Minnesota native Kris Humphries that he would like to have him. The money works, but I don't know if McHale has that kind of clout. Bass and Lee works as does Green by himself although Houston does not want big long term money. We also know that originally the Rockets were hoping for Ryan Anderson.
What do the Rockets actually need? Since Terrence Jones has stepped up, they really don't need Bass or Humphries. Green doesn't fit because of the contract and they already have Chandler Parsons. What they could use is a good 3&D guy and a good sixth man that spreads the floor.
Enter team four, the Raptors. They want picks or cap space. So the deal could look like this:
Philly gets Asik, Boston gets Hawes and Aaron Brooks (there is a part two to this that I will post tomorrow), Toronto gets Keith Bogans, and Houston gets Steve Novak (an Anderson light if you will) as a sixth man and Courtney Lee for the 3&D. Their combined salaries would be the same as Asik's if he were not traded. Novak was a former second round pick of Houston and is only one season removed from his league leading three point percentage. He just hasn't fit in with Toronto. As for Lee, Houston did not really want to lose him when he came to Boston.
For the Celtics, they would get a productive 7' 245 pound big man for essentially the cost of Lee. It would hurt to lose Lee's bench scoring, but either Sully or Bass would then come off the bench at power forward and if Olynyk starts hitting his shots, it shouldn't be a problem.
Everybody gets what they need. Seems like a win for everyone involved to me.