I am not a basketball fan. I was a Charles Barkley fan as a kid because I could identify with him; bald, fat, mouthy. What teenager wouldn’t love him? His career ended and thus my interest with the NBA. Ages pass and now I have a fandom that fits into the term tribalism. I have my teams and that’s it. But then Danny Ainge traded Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn. It wasn’t the players which caught my attention but the return of an ungodly amount of draft picks for the twilight years of great players. The GM of the Nets fell for the great sin of paying for the name instead of paying for the game. Danny Ainge committed a sodomy so great against the Russian owned Nets, Vladimir Putin passed anti-homosexuality laws to counter the crime.
There are some who are screaming, hoping that the Celtics embrace the future and draft every pick, not to mortgage the future. The Boston Celtics have so much future that Danny Ainge is defecating Doctor Who and the Jetsons every morning. If the Celtics were to keep every pick they will be cursed to be a Rod Stewart song: Forever Young. Mathematically, the Celtics could refresh the starting lineup every 3 years since they would be averaging 2 1st round picks for 4 years.
Trade rumors have hung around the Celtics like Red Auerbach’s cigar smoke and it has the makings of building a strong starting lineup. I’m going to break them down one by one and how mathematically it would have to be done. First the targeted players. Kevin Love, Omer Asik.
What the Celtics have for trade assets are interesting. First their roster of players. Secondly, the ungodly amount of draft picks, 9-10 (possibly) 1st round picks in the next 5 years, Third, and the most interesting are what called trade exceptions. These happen when you trade a player and receive less than their contract and you are allowed to pick up other players for said exception. Example: you have a 10 million dollar exception. You can use this like a coupon to pick up a player or players on another team without having to give up players. Only in the NBA can you get value for a contract 3 times. First, you sign a player. Secondly, you trade the player when you get sick of them. Third, you can trade the ghost of the player’s contract for a player you DO want. Back to the facts in hand, the Celtics have a 10.1 million dollar exception for when they traded Paul Pierce. (So, not only did the GM of the Celtics violate the sanctity of the Nets, steal the birthright of the team, they were given a gift!). And a second trade exception for when they traded Courtney Lee for 2.1 Million. So in separate trades, the Celtics could trade for 10.1 million dollars and 2.1 million dollars worth of players with nothing more than a please.
Let’s start with the trades.
First the Celtics need to trade for Asik first. This will be easier and potentially more expensive. Asik, who should be the starting center the Celtics need, is only 8.4 million compared to Love’s 14.3 million but the Rockets hinted through the media that the Celtics will also have to take Jeremy Lin’s contract of 8.4 million. This is best done with two separate trades. First:
Asik (8.4M) for Brandon Bass (6.5M) and Christopher Johnson (.3K) and a 1st round pick
This trade meets the NBA requirement of the two sides of the trade coming within 125% of the deal.
Next comes the second trade which is more of a condition to get the Rockets to agree to the deal.
Lin (8.4M) and player (?M)for Pierce exception (10.1m)
The player to be named later will be used for later purposes
Boston will consult with the Minnesota Timberwolves to see which player will be coming back in the Lin trade. Also they will use the second smaller trade exception for another player for the Timberwolves. This will lead to the following:
Bogans is a malcontent cash fodder for the trade, Anthony is an expiring contract. The real value is Jerred Sullinger to replace Love’s starting spot and the 2 1sts.
To sum up the totals, the Celtics are losing the ghosts of 2 contracts already traded, a player in Bogans who so badly moped and whined the team told him to stay home, a cheap player who’s hanging on to the NBA with all ten fingernails, two expiring contracts of players who are no longer in the Celtics plans, 3 of their excessive 10 1st round picks, and a good to great young player in Sullinger who loses his position to a superior player in Love.
What happens next is what do the Celtics do with Jeremy Lin? Lin, a starting quality Point Guard will be behind Rajon Rondo who’s a superior point guard in every way. The Celtics could trade Lin to a team that desperately needs a point….a team that could afford to toss away 8.4 million dollars worth of talent…a team which might have had the pleasure of Lin’s services.
I’m not saying the Knicks, but I’m saying the Knicks.
Lin (8.4M) for depth to fill out the Celtics rotation.
Team built, Picks spent, future established as right now. Now this is where I ask basketball fans 'Where am I wrong?' I know my hockey economics and roster math but basketball is a different animal. so tell me where I'm wrong. Have at it!