One of the main ideas that seemed to turn up over my recent post "The case FOR tanking" was that the Celtics roster as it will stand on July 10th is too good to tank. In fact it may even been a possible eighth seed in the weak Eastern Conference. Many people seemed to agree that if the Celtics were going to take a year to develop youth and evaluate the roster,then they would have to offload some of the veteran talent on the team. Players such as Brandon Bass, Courtney Lee, and a slew of the new guys from Brooklyn. I thought it might be fun to take a step away from "serious posts" and venture some guesses as to where some of these guys could end up. Please keep in mind, I'm going to attempt to be as realistic as possible in my evaluations, and so while you may not personally like some of the ideas expressed I do believe them all to be plausible. Let's begin shall we?
I've started with my personal favorite of this group that we would need to look to offload. Brandon is a good player and I'll miss him here in Boston, but with the rise of Jared Sullinger and the drafting of Olynyk, Bass has become a commodity not needed on the Celtics; especially when you factor in Kris Humphries and possibly even Shavlik Randolph sticking around. The good news is Brandon is indeed a good commodity, and I think many teams would be lucky to have him. He has a solid mid-range jumper, can play the pick and pop, and has shown that he can have spurts (and I mean spurts) of really good offensive play. On the defensive end Bass can be a bit lacking, with one exception. Brandon has shown he is extremely capable of guarding the LeBron's and Melo's of the league, and this is why I believe Brandon to be the easiest player to move on this list. While he is pricy at 6.5 million this year, I think there are some teams who could/should take a shot at him.
The first team I see Bass fitting in with is San Antonio. This would be a best case scenario for all parties in my opinion. The Spurs might be losing both Boris Diaw and Thiago Splitter to Free Agency, and will need to replace that depth in their front court. San Antonio also happens to have a ridiculous amount of cap space this off season and could absorb Bass' salary with no problem. Two trains of thought here: First, Ainge could go for the gold and try to work out a S&T for Splitter, perhaps an offer of Bass, Colton Iverson (who they wanted), Jordan Crawford (insurance policy), and the Clippers 2015 first rounder would be enough? The second option would be to move Bass without taking any salary back, in this scenario the Celtics would probably end up with a first round draft pick, something I'd be OK with as well.
I could see Bass playing for Indiana as well. Odds are the Pacers will see Melo and perhaps LeBron in the playoffs, and they could use someone not named George who could guard both. Indy's probably looking to move Danny Granger, but if they could pick up a quality player without moving Danny that would do a lot for their bench woes. If they moved Granger for the PG they desperately need, I could easily see a Mahinmi for Bass swap in the making. Bass could play backup to both George and West, giving them solid minutes off the bench. As for the Celtics swapping Bass for Mahinmi gives the Celtics a legitimate Center, although not really one of starting caliber. There are several other deals I can see the Celtics moving Bass for, but I don't have time for all of them here.
Out of all the players on this list, Lee is the one I'd like to most see stay in Boston. But the C's have a logjam at SG, and I think Lee might end up losing playing time to younger guys like Bradley, Brooks, and Crawford. Courtney is a true 3/D threat and could be a true asset to several teams.
The Chicago Bulls make the most sense to me for Lee. Chicago has been looking for a guard to pair with Rose, but has yet to find a true fit. Lee could be really slid for the Bulls playing tough perimeter defense while stretching the floor. I'd look to move Lee to Chicago for Richard Hamilton. True it's just another SG, but Hamilton's 5 million dollar deal is an expiring contract this up coming season and it's not like we'd have to feed Hamilton a ton of minutes. Add this 5 million to Humphries' 10 million expiring and that's 15 million dollars we'd have coming off the books this upcoming season; or we could package the two together as expiring deals and ship them off to a team that's going to try and win the LeBron sweepstakes.
I think we could also move Lee to the Rockets. Houston's trying to win the Dwight sweepstakes and bringing in one of Dwight's friends could be a real boon to their chances. Packaging Lee and Shavlik or Crawford might be enough to steal Asik from Houston. The Rockets could use a solid sixth man in Lee and Shavlik could either be waived for more cap room or kept as a serviceable big, Crawfords just an insurance policy. Houston's not really going to need Asik with Howard there anyway, so why shouldn't we capitalize? Asik does make Boston better, but I don't know if he'd make such a big difference as to hurt us in our "tanking". It would be nice to have a serviceable Center going forward though. The Celtics might have to throw a pick into this deal as well, but depending on the pick I'd be OK with that.
Humphries is hugely overpaid, but he's a serviceable big. His contract of something around 10 million is expiring this coming off season as well, so that could be a boon for the Celtics as well. Even with all this being said Kris' has shown that he can average a double-double when given the minutes. Some people seem determined to offload Humphries though, so let's explore it.
It was rumored that Charlotte was willing to give up Ben Gordon for Humphries, and some have hinted at looking into this again. I really don't see the point unless we get a pick out of the deal. Gordon would just be another SG and he would demand minutes. I don't see why we'd give up one logjam to create another, unless there's a pick involved so I don't really get the point.
I really don't think it's in our best interest to trade Humphries at all, unless it's at the deadline as an expiring deal. Short of that, Kris' true value lies in taking salary off the payroll.
And now for the toughest cookie to crack: Gerald Wallace. His contract is AWFUL, and merely impossible to move. He had a down season in Brooklyn last year, but a lot of that was due to how Brooklyn was using him in my opinion. Wallace still has value it's just no longer in tandem with his contracts value.
If you forced me to move Wallace on the 10th the only place I could think of would be San Antonio. I would beg Pop to take him, what do we get in exchange you ask? Who cares? Give me your sick, your needy, your destitute. Just make sure their not expensive! If the Spurs would give up a first or two seconds for Wallace I'd take it, and get rid of the salary. Here's another option to move Wallace if we really just wanted to get rid of the salary.
It's more likely that the Celtics don't move Wallace until the deadline this season or even next off season Wallace needs to prove he can still play, and half a year to a full year of decent play in Boston could do his career wonders. Then if at the deadline there is a team who needs a guy who can guard LeBron or Melo, you deal him then. Hopefully we'd get more value this way as well. Maybe two role players, or one role player and a pick. An expiring deal would be ideal but that's probably asking to much.
If the Celtics were going into full rebuild mode then they would have to move Green and Rondo. I'll address them both in this article as well, though I won't spend as much time on them as I don't see moving them as likely.
I'd look to move Green and the Nets first round pick in 2014 for Tyreke Evans and Isaiah Thomas. Tyreke is expendable in Sactown now since they drafted Ben McLemore with the seventh pick this year, and the Kings might not want to resign Reke for as much as he's worth. By doing this we'd get our SG for the future, and a backup PG for several years to come. The Kings get the SF they've been dreaming of forever, and a late pick in a loaded draft. They could address their need at PG then or through Free Agency. I'd rather the Celtics give up the 2015 Clippers pick in this deal, but I don't know if the Kings would take that.
Love him or hate him, Rajon could be on the move. Danny said we have no intention of moving him.... so we probably are planning to right? I think it's likely we wait until the deadline to deal Rondo if we do move him, teams will want to know he's 100% from his injury and not going to be another Rose. If we really wanted to "tank" a move for Danny Granger, Lance Stephenson, and a two first rounders could happen. Barring that I'm sure the Suns could put together some package of prospects and picks to nab Rondo, same goes for the Magic. Houston could make a run for Rondo if they really want another star along Harden and Howard, perhaps with Lin and Asik. The Raptors could have an outside shot of landing Rondo: perhaps Lowry, Valanciunas, and a first rounder. Needless to say there should be plenty of offers for Rondo if he ever becomes available.
If I were allowed to screw everything up, here's what I'd do. Move Jeff Green and the Nets 2014 first for Tyreke Evans and Isaiah Thomas. I'd package Brandon Bass, Courtney Lee, and Jordan Crawford to Indiana for Danny Granger. I'd rehab Rondo and Sully until December and get into good draft position. Despite who are pick is, or roster going forward looks like this:
PG- Rondo, Thomas, Pressey
SG- Evans, Bradley, Brooks
SF- Granger, Wallace, Joseph
PF- Sullinger, Olynyk, Shav
C- Melo, Iverson, a loose cheerleader.
If we could find a decent Center (perhaps by moving Bradley) and a franchise guy in the draft, we'd be young contenders going forward with a 5-6 year window. Oh how fun it is to dream!
So there are some of my thoughts for how to move some of these guys. I look forward to your input on these deals as well as deals you've come up with yourself. Look forward to your comments and as always, if you liked the post be sure to Rec ; )