We're over a quarter of the way through the season and the Celtics are struggling pretty bad. The best solution (in theory) is for everyone to start playing better. Avery Bradley will be back soon and if folks can figure out their roles and step up to the levels that they are capable of, we could have a legit contending team here. Of course, you can't always count on that, so it is only natural to start looking outside the team.
We've already started looking at several rumors and trade ideas, but it isn't a bad idea to set the stage for the trade season ahead. This is actually part of a larger effort by all the SBNation basketball blogs, so stay tuned for a league-wide analysis of potential matches and trade ideas.
Here are some questions that were posed to us.
Is your team a buyer, seller or both (please explain)?
Unless things get really bad really quickly, this team is still a buyer. We're transitioning from the Big 3 era to Rondo's team, but there's still enough firepower here (on paper) to compete with the best in the league. That said, there are holes that need to be filled and the team has underperformed to most people's expectations thus far. Hopefully a key addition or two would help put everything together at the right time for a run at the title.
If buyer, what are the needs?
We lack a solid backup center and we could use any legit big man to put next to Kevin Garnett (who could slide back to the 4 if we got a starting quality center). A strong preference would be on a big man that can defend, gobble up rebounds at a high rate, and not be completely useless on offense (see Collins, Jason). The team was hoping for some of those qualities when they rolled the dice on Darko Milicic but that didn't work out so well.
....what specific players should your team target?
Anderson Varejao, Marcin Gortat, Paul Millsap or Al Jefferson, Jason Thompson, J.J. Hickson, David West, Timofey Mozgov, and (just for fun) Kevin Love and Josh Smith to name a few.
...what players are available?
Jeff Green, Courtney Lee, and Brandon Bass are the most available to move. A quality big man would likely cost us picks, Avery Bradley and/or Jared Sullinger as well.
What are your top three trade ideas (please specify traded assets and briefly explain justification for each side)?
In order from most realistic to least:
Get backup center
Timofey Mozgov for Fab Melo, protected 1st rounder, and cap filler (may have to use Collins and/or Joseph salary to make numbers work).
Celtics would get a legit backup center with upside. Denver trades from their surplus and gets future assets and cap savings.
Get a starting center
Marcin Gortat for Courtney Lee and Jared Sullinger
Celtics get a starting caliber center and can move Garnett back to power forward with Brandon Bass coming off the bench. Suns get Sullinger to develop and shooting/defense from Courtney Lee. Hate giving up on Sullinger so quickly, but you have to give to get.
Go all in
Kevin Love or Josh Smith for Jeff Green, Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger, and 2 future first rounders.
Celtics get a star player while the T-Wolves or Hawks get a package of young players with great upside potential.
And now you can make fun of me in the comments.