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Time To Trade Wally?

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I believe it is time to think about moving Wally Szczerbiak.

A year ago, Danny Ainge traded several players (including Ricky Davis and Mark Blount) for Szczerbiak.  He said at the time it was a sideways move and he felt that we were “one move away.”  After that, he tried both in the offseason (and again last month) to acquire Allen Iverson.  Wally would have been the main vehicle to get the deal done in the offseason (going to Utah in a 3 way trade).  Clearly that one big move for Iverson would have made us competitive (if not a contender).  Now that Iverson is in Denver, you have to wonder if Ainge still believes we are “one move away.”

If Kevin Garnett shows up on the market, the Celtics will be calling and bidding heavily of course.  However, as we’ve discussed in the past, one would have to put the Bulls as the favorites to land KG and other teams (Lakers, Golden St.) would have at least as good a chance to win the sweepstakes as we would.

If Ainge wasn’t willing to deal Al Jefferson for Allen Iverson, you would have to believe that anyone short of KG would make him untouchable.  Ditto for Gerald Green.  Although I’d hedge that bet because good wing players are relatively easy to replace. I think Ainge would be willing to entertain the notion of moving Green if we could get a young, All-Star big man in return, but those players don’t show up on the market often.  Paul Pierce, by all accounts, is the building block of this team’s future, so for the sake of this discussion, I’m assuming he’s untouchable for now as well.

That leaves a lot of unproven youngsters, a couple of contracts (Theo, Scal) and Wally.

The way I see it, Danny has a few options (some of which may not even be available to him right now):  1. make a big trade for a superstar; 2. make a few trades for several veterans; or 3. wait it out and let the kids develop as a group.

In all three scenarios, trading Wally makes sense.  In any trades, you’ll need his talent or his salary to make something happen.  If you go with the youth, he doesn’t fit into the plans anyway, so you might as well see what you can get for him.

If this team were one or two players away from contending, I would have no problem keeping Wally around.  He’s a tough competitor, an excellent outside shooter, a veteran, and a good locker room guy.  However, this team just isn’t that close.  On the other hand, all of those reasons are why contending teams would love to have a guy like Wally.  Sure, he’s going to miss some time here and there, but if used right he would be there in the stretch run when they needed him most.

I would think that Dallas would be willing to give up some expiring contracts and perhaps some extra incentive to pick up Wally.  If that isn’t what the Celtics are looking for, they can always find another team looking to get cap room and work out a three-team deal. 

We could also go in another direction and use Wally to pick up multiple veterans.  Maybe we could pick up a veteran point guard and/or a big man. You would think that the Clippers, Heat, Jazz, and even the Pacers would try to put together something that could be worked out. 

With all of that said, if we do hold on to Wally till the deadline, I won’t be too upset.  As long as he’s around I can still hold onto my KG dream.