Like it or not, trade season is upon us and I fully expect the Boston Celtics to find their way into a LOT of trade rumor - real or imagined. So for the sake of clarity and perhaps to inform any fans from other teams about what our team needs and assets are, let's review.
Below are a series of questions posed to each blog manager about their team (in bold) with my answers below. Enjoy.
Is your team a buyer or seller?
Yes. Not to be difficult, but I could see this team being either a buyer or a seller depending on the right value. I think Ainge isn't focused on "tanking" or "competing" at this moment so much as he is focused on improving his team for the long haul. I went into this more in detail here.
If buyer, what are the needs? What position are you looking to improve? What specific players should your team target?
The most obvious need is a legit center who can be a rim protector on defense (which is why Asik's name keeps coming up). But I'm not sure if Ainge would turn down a deal for any position if it was a step up in talent. Yes the team is overloaded at power forward and shooting guard right now, but Ainge is gathering assets, not a balanced roster. The only position that seems to be locked in granite is point guard with Rondo set to be the franchise guy for some time. There's even a few good options at backup point with Jordan Crawofrd and rookie Phil Pressey.
Omer Asik is about the only guy that comes to mind as a specific trade target. For the most part I think Ainge will be looking to pick up future assets - perhaps by facilitating a deal between other teams. Which brings us to...
If seller, what are the objectives in potential moves?
Primarily the goal will be to shed long term salary and add future assets - be it young players or draft picks. One way to offload salary is by including some of our own draft picks or young talent. For example, the Celtics could find a team to take on Gerald Wallace on the condition that they also get a pick from us. I'm not crazy about that idea at all since I'd rather have the draft pick than the cap space but I suppose it would depend on what we'd be getting back in return as well.
A better solution would be to offer up guys that have real, substantial value for teams looking to compete now. Which brings us to...
What players are available?
Brandon Bass, Jeff Green, and Courtney Lee are all very good veteran rotation players and potential starters on a competing team. Their contracts are reasonable compared to their market value and any one of them could be the difference between winning and losing a playoff series or even a championship. I think each of them will be available for the right price this winter. Each is young enough to be valuable to the Celtics in the near future, but might be even more valuable as trade chips right now.
At which position do you have a surplus?
The power forward and shooting guard positions are overloaded right now. Moving Bass would free up Jared Sullinger and even Kelly Olynyk to get more time - especially if we had more options at center. Jordan Crawford has been playing great filling in at the point, but when Rondo returns, he looks to join the ranks of backup combo guards on the roster. Moving him or Courtney Lee would flatten out the rotation a bit. MarShon Brooks is available in any deal that requires his salary to make money work. Keith Bogans is a walking $5M expiring contract with great locker room skills.
What are your specific trade ideas?
The best idea I've come up with thus far is offering Brandon Bass, Courtney Lee, and the Clippers 2015 pick to the Rockets for Omer Asik. They get value now and the pick they want in return and the Celtics get a legit center that could be a nice long term solution.
Aside from that, I'm drawing a blank on good, realistic trades that we could pull off - in part because I don't really know what other teams need or want or have in terms of draft picks to offer back. Which is one of the reasons we're doing this exercise across SBNation. With that said, I've got a bonus section, not asked for by the organizers.
Celtics trade chips ranked (from most valuable to least)
(This is actually and updated list of one I did at the start of the season. See how the pieces have shifted if you are curious.)
- Rajon Rondo - will find himself in trade rumors but not available except for a Godfather offer
- Our own 2014 first rounder - slipping with each win, but still could be lottery pick by the end
- Jared Sullinger - leapfrogs to the top of the young-guns with his performance thus far
- Avery Bradley - now with more offense!
- Jeff Green - prototype 3rd option on a contender
- Brooklyn's 2014 first round pick (lesser of Nets/Hawks picks) - was once considered to be a non-lottery pick - now not so sure.
- Brooklyn's 2016 first round pick - draft picks are gold in this economy, and if Nets don't turn things around...
- Brooklyn's 2018 first round pick - ditto
- Kelly Olynyk - lottery pick considered the steal of the draft by GMs
- Clippers' 2015 first round pick - most likely in the 20's next year
- Brandon Bass - solid addition to a playoff team
- Kris Humphries - $12M expiring salary - can play some solid backup PF minutes
- Kieth Bogans - $5M expiring salary - great lockerroom guy!
- Jordan Crawford - now (mostly) sane!
- Courtney Lee - excellent bounce back year - solid 3 and D guy for a team's bench
- Vitor Faverani - solid backup center with legit size
- Phil Pressey - young, developing backup point guard
- Right to swap first round picks with Brooklyn in 2017 - a nice option
- MarShon Brooks - can be used for salary filler
- Our own future 2nd round picks (2014 already gone)
- Cash - not to be confused with Crash
- Gerald Wallace - a decent role player, but his contract makes him a net negative in any deal
- $10.3M Traded Player Exception: Can't use this right now, but it could be very valuable this summer. Details here.