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Grantland prediction: Boston will "trade itself down the standings"

Players and coaches don't tank. Front offices tank.

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Lowe wrote an informative and entertaining article making 32 predictions for the upcoming season. One of the predictions is something that we've heard from him in the past. That the Celtics, faced with perhaps a little bit of success in the win column, may make a trade sometime in the season to take a step back in the standings.

32 Bold Predictions for the 2013-14 NBA Season - Grantland

The Celtics wouldn't mind their young guys getting to experience meaningful late-season games, but the guess here is that the front office would rather have at least one very nice first-round pick in a loaded draft. In other words, look for everyone to be on the table. Bass might be the most tradable guy, since he's a solid player with just one year left on his contract after this season. But bigger names will come up. Jeff Green has fans around the league, and Rondo's contract expires after next season. He has to prove his health again, but I've never gotten the impression Boston would be stoked to pay Rondo a max (or near-max) deal after 2015.

In other words, expect the Celtics to be sellers in the trade market. Personally I don't mind that strategy as long as the players going out are not in the long term plans and the return is solid future assets (or at least cap space). Players and coaches don't "tank" but front offices should have their eyes fixed on the horizon.

As I've mentioned several times, I'm against trading Rondo for anything but another star player. Jeff Green might fetch a decent package and I'm not sold on him as being a cornerstone player, so I'd certainly listen to offers there. I like Bass as a player in general but he makes no sense in a rebuilding situation, so I'm hoping he's dealt for something this year. As much as I like Gerald Wallace's contributions thus far, if the Celtics could offload his contract, they should. If they can get any value for him, all the better.

The problem, according to Lowe, is that there will be a few other sellers on the market dangling mid-tier talent guys. Phoenix, Utah, Philadelphia, and Orlando will all have players on sale so that might drive the price of our guys down.

The good news is that the buyers won't just be the top contenders. There are some teams that will be looking to make a playoff push and need a piece or two to put them over that hump. Washington, Detroit, Cleveland, and New Orleans are all looking to leave the lottery days behind them and start playing in the postseason. Someone might make a "panic" trade or at least have that extra motivation that is always necessary to get deals done.

Of course it depends on the price. What are the Celtics looking for? Would they take an expiring and a first round pick for Jeff Green or do they want more value than that? Would we give up Bass for a 2nd rounder just to free cap space? Or can we squeeze a young player out of that deal as well?

I'll be keeping a close eye (as always) on the rumor mill this winter. It should be an interesting year from that standpoint to say the least.

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