The trade deadline is only 2 weeks away, and Danny Ainge has gone 8 months since making a real trade (Iâ€™m not counting Luke Jackson).Â Rumors are starting to build that the Celtics are one of the prime bidders for Pau Gasol.Â Paul Pierce and Ryan Gomes have been making noise about wanting to trade the draft pick for a veteran.Â In fact, the draft pick might never have a higher trade value (assuming we start winning games and donâ€™t win the lottery of course).Â So all signs seem to point to making a trade.
I have but one message for Danny.Â Donâ€™t do it.Â Wait till the summer, then make your move.Â Here are 5 reasons why:
1. Draft Position
First of all, you canâ€™t trade the pick without top 2 protection under any circumstances.Â Period.Â That much should be obvious.Â Personally Iâ€™d protect it in the top 10 in most trades because I still think there is talent in this draft beyond the top 2 as well.Â If Brandan Wright has Chris Bosh type potential, you donâ€™t give that up lightly.
Even if you hang onto the pick, it doesnâ€™t make good strategic sense to get a veteran now. Thereâ€™s nothing to play for this year but pride.Â Philly picked up a veteran point guard (Andre Miller) when they traded away Allen Iverson and heâ€™s done nothing but screw up their tanking plan.Â
We are already going to be adding Paul Pierce eventually and Wally Szczerbiak is bound to get healthier at some point.Â Adding another vet now makes no sense unless it is a major upgrade and the vet is still young enough to let a young team grow around him.
Gasol meets both those requirements, yet Iâ€™m still against overpaying for him.Â To me, giving up Jefferson or our pick (unprotected) in any deal is overpaying.Â Iâ€™m not really keen on dealing Gerald Green either, but if the rest of the price were reasonable, Iâ€™d have to consider it.
Adding a vet besides Gasol or someone of equal value shouldnâ€™t even be considered right now.Â All stars are not available every day so you take your shot when they come on the market.Â But â€œquality vetsâ€ can be acquired at any time.Â You just have to be willing to pay their typically over-inflated salaries.
Every loss gets us closer to getting a guy that will be better than Gasol, maybe as early as next year.Â Even if we lose the lottery and end up with something in the 4th or 5th pick range, we can still package that with tradable players in the offseason for a reasonable return.Â It is worth that gamble to wait it out.Â Till then, maintain the high draft position.
2. Bad Timing for Trade Assets
The young players we have to dangle in trade talks are having a good opportunity to improve with the added playing time theyâ€™ve gotten.Â However, with the losses mounting, the limitations of each of them are on full display.Â It is almost as if the whole team is hitting the rookie wall at the same time.Â
It might actually help a number of these guys to scale back the minutes at this point.Â In particular Gerald Green.Â When he is required to be one of the prime scoring options, heâ€™s going to thrive one night and struggle the next two.Â That is just the nature of his current position on the learning curve.Â Put Pierce back in the rotation and play Green off the bench, and he can feast more on the opposing benches and shine in his own way.Â The dunk competition shouldnâ€™t hurt his value either.
Sebastian Telfair has simply regressed all year.Â Kendrick Perkins looks horrible out there too, but mostly because heâ€™s playing through enormous amounts of pain because he thinks his team needs him.Â Ryan Gomes is going to be a wonderful complimentary player for years, but asking him to be one of the best on the team night-in-night-out is too much.Â Even Jefferson is going to start wearing down soon if nobody steps in to take some double team pressure off of him.
3. KG Not On The Market Yet
When you start tossing out names like Al Jefferson and Gerald Green, thereâ€™s only one guy that might hit the market that Iâ€™d give up that package for.Â Kevin Garnett.Â All signs are pointing to him staying in Minnesota through the end of the season.Â After the trade deadline, the Bulls wonâ€™t have PJ Brownâ€™s expiring contract to dangle, so they likely will make their move for Gasol or Ray Allen or whomever this month.Â
Imagine this: The Celtics win the 2nd pick in the draft.Â The Griz pick Oden, and the Celtics pick Durant.Â We trade Green, Jefferson, Theo Ratliffâ€™s contract, and anything else the Wolves want (other than Pierce and Durant) and the deal is done.Â Then you have a 1-2-3 punch that will contend for the near and long term future.Â Durant even gets to learn under the guy heâ€™s compared to the most and doesnâ€™t have to be â€œthe manâ€ in his first few years in the league.Â
Just my dream I guess.Â But if you make a move now, that dream dies a premature death.
4. Theo's Value Not Maximized Yet
Sure, Theoâ€™s insurance makes him the next best thing to being an expiring contract.Â But this offseason, he becomes even better than an expiring contract.Â Heâ€™s an expiring contract that you donâ€™t even have to pay.Â Some team is going to look at their bottom line and decide that this makes too much business sense and pull the trigger.
5. More Buyers In The Offseason
Deadline deals do bring out the desperate GMs and sometimes allow for smart GMs to take advantage of teams making a last push to contend (see Joe Johnson to the Suns).Â Â If you can find one of those desperate GMs and convince them that Wally is healthy enough to contribute to a contender, more power to ya.Â
However, there are a limited number of teams contending and willing to deal right now.Â And in a year where teams are looking at the same lottery balls that we are coveting are going to want to make the same kind of deals we are looking for.Â In the offseason, everyone is looking to improve and make moves to get better, so the selection and number of buyers increases.
I know the losses are frustrating for everyone.Â In fact, it is getting to the point where the team is really kind of boring.Â I find myself unenthusiastic about watching the games because there is no drama in knowing that the team will lose each night.Â Still, there is a great deal more to lose if you make a pointless deal out of boredom.Â This season is over.Â There is no saving it.Â Let it play out and make the necessary changes in the offseason.Â Till then, hold tight.