Hey everybody, enjoying those fireworks? Aren't they awesome?
Oh, you mean Tyler Zeller doesn't count? Well, don't be too hard on the guy. He's a good worker and a skilled player. He'll win fans over here soon enough.
So the Celtics probably aren't getting Kevin Love. Turns out the Timberwolves don't want to enter another complete from-the-ground-up rebuild, and want to get pieces that have immediate value. Bottom line: Kevin Love is going to be playing in Golden State or Cleveland this season, or else the Wolves are going to hold onto him stubbornly all year long, and then next summer he's going to go to the team that can offer him a winning situation and lots of money. Ah well.
The lesson of this summer is this: Just because you have trade assets, it doesn't mean there will be deals to be made. It takes two to tango.
Last year, Danny swindled Billy King. Flip Saunders, it seems, didn't want to be this year's Billy King. As a result, here we sit in the middle of July and nothing has happened to materially alter the Celtics' place in the NBA hierarchy. Unfortunately, I don't think there's much that can be done about that right now. We'll have to sit through another rebuilding year. However, I think there are still moves for Danny Ainge to make that will help clear out the roster a bit, inject some youth, and allow the Celtics to use this season as a tryout for some younger guys who could stick with the team long term as relatively cheap role players.
The money is uneven, but it doesn't matter because Charlotte still has ample cap space to absorb Bass and Anthony. Why would they do this, you ask? Charlotte is primed to be a serious playoff contender this season, but at the moment they lack veteran experience in the frontcourt aside from our old friend Big Al Jefferson. Bass, though undersized, would be a good fit next to Big Al since he can space the floor a bit and play above average perimeter defense. Joel Anthony is a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency option, but he's got experience on winning teams that the Hornets could value. Both Bass and Anthony are expiring contracts, so the risk is minimal for the Hornets.
As for the Celtics, they replace two veterans with no future in Boston with a defensive center prospect who hasn't really panned out so far in the league, but has still shown promise as a rebounder and rim protector, if nothing else. He's kind of a younger version of Joel Anthony, in fact, but he has more upside. He's a restricted free agent next summer, so the Celtics would be free to retain him, if the price is right, or else let him go. Certainly he's a better option than Vitor Faverani.
Move #2: Trade Jeff Green to Atlanta for Demarre Carroll
Atlanta, after swinging and missing on Deng and Ariza, presumably has playoff hopes this season, but doesn't want to entirely compromise their cap space for next summer. Jeff Green, then, is a good option. He'd look good as a 3rd or 4th scoring option beside Millsap, Horford, and Teague; he has a player option at the end of the year which he's likely to exercise if he plays to his usual just-pretty-okay standard; finally, Atlanta is probably just the right kind of atmosphere for Jeff "Cucumber" Green -- as in "cool and emotionless as a cucumber." I wouldn't be surprised to see Jeff re-sign in Atlanta for a decent 3 or 4 year deal.
Why for Boston? Much like the Bass trade, this opens up minutes for younger players who might have a chance to stick around in Boston for the years to come, given that the price is right. Moreover, as a rebuilding team the Celtics have a lot more holes to fill than just complementary scoring, which is pretty much the only thing Jeff Green brings to the table on any kind of regular basis. Demarre Carroll won't wow you, but he does similar things to Green, comes cheaper, and has toughness and strength to play as a stretch 4. Plus he has really awesome hair.
Move #3: Trade Keith Bogans to Indiana (to be promptly waived) in return for Evan Turner (signed and traded at $3-5 million per year for 2-3 years)
Judging by the response to Kevin O'Connor's article about Turner, he's not a popular name on Celticsblog. Well, maybe he has his issues, and things certainly didn't work out for him in Indiana, but one thing he does have is talent. He also has the ability to rebound pretty well at either wing spot and also handle the ball. If he can develop a decent spot-up jumpshot, he could really salvage his career and even become a major bargain. If not, the Celtics aren't really risking a whole lot. They've got far more cap space next year than they're likely to use, so making a signing that eats into a small piece of it isn't a big deal. Evan Turner would be an interesting test of Brad Stevens' ability. He did some good things with Jordan Crawford. Can he perform a similar turnaround with an even more talented, and perhaps more flawed player in Evan Turner? I'd love to watch and see.
Here's a look at the resulting team:
Rondo / Smart / Pressey
Bradley / Thornton / Young
Turner / Carroll / Wallace
Sullinger / Olynyk
Zeller / Biyombo / Faverani
That last open spot could go to Chris Johnson, or perhaps Mike Moser. In other words, a non-guaranteed D-League type. The above team would be very young. The only non-rookie scale contracts extending beyond this season would be Bradley (decent value), Turner (low-risk gamble), and Wallace (dead weight, but expiring in 2016).
Maybe we can't get fireworks, but I'd like to see Danny make a few more quality moves, in addition to the use of the Pierce Trade Exception a couple weeks ago, to clean up the roster a bit and bring in some fresh faces for the upcoming season. Not fireworks, but I could feel pretty content with this, all things considered.