Did the Boston Celtics really trade Joel Anthony to the Detroit Pistons for Will Bynum just to save themselves $884,092? I initially thought that might've been the case -- if anything to create more space below the luxury tax line -- but the more I've thought about it, the more I doubt it.
Boston is still stuck with 16 guaranteed contracts after the Bynum-Anthony swap, which means someone needs to be traded or waived in order to get to the maximum 15-man roster.
Some fans originally figured that Vitor Faverani or Dwight Powell could've been waived. This clearly wasn't the case after Wednesday, since Danny Ainge told the Boston Herald's Mark Murphy, "We have things we can do before we waive someone."
Anthony was then traded on Friday, giving the Celtics about $900,000 more room to operate, and a much more appealing player to actually deal in Bynum.
As reported by ESPN's Marc Stein, Ainge talked with Bynum's agent on Saturday, Mark Bartlestein, and told him to bide his time as Boston looks for other moves.
In other words, the Celtics could look to trade Bynum to a team that can actually use him. Very few teams were interested in Anthony's limited talents, but Bynum's ability to be a sparkplug scorer off the bench could be useful.
There may be a few teams with non-guaranteed contracts or trade exceptions that would let them to absorb Bynum, thus allowing the Celtics to save money.
However, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald added that Bynum could potentially stay with the Celtics if another trade is reached. This is what piqued my interest, since my original thought last night was that Ainge would look for a larger deal.
Here are some possible ways Boston can get to 15 players by making a trade or by simply waiving Bynum.
Option 1: Trading Will Bynum
The league is stacked with scoring guards, which makes the demand for players like Bynum less than it used to be. After sorting through the 28 teams that can acquire Bynum, only two stick out: Cleveland and Indiana.
With Paul George's absence, Indiana could potentially use an additional bench scorer like Bynum, and they have an empty roster spot, a trade exception, and the cap space required to take on his contract.
If Cleveland isn't entirely comfortable with Matthew Dellavedova as their backup point guard behind Kyrie Irving, they could send multiple non-guaranteed contracts totaling at least $1.88 million to complete a trade.
There are other teams who can make deals work, whether it's with trade exceptions or non-guaranteed contracts, but not too many teams really need Bynum's services, which needs to be considered when seeking possibilities.
Option 2: Making a 2-for-1 trade
The Celtics could get to 15 guaranteed contracts by trading two players for one, but it's very difficult to find players that make sense for this type of swap considering the amount of requirements. Consider that Boston would need to acquire a player that would be willing to ride the bench without causing a stir in the locker room (a la Keith Bogans), or one that would actually receive playing time (like Marcus Thornton).
Not to mention that the Celtics would likely prefer to acquire a player with an expiring contract, so that probably rules out Chase Budinger, who is already on Minnesota's block, as well as loads of other players.
At this point of the preseason, any deal of this type is unlikely, especially since in the past ten years there have been only 15 trades made in October before the start of the season.
However, it's always a possibility. Earlier this summer Ainge was reportedly shopping veteran power forward Brandon Bass, according to Grantland's Zach Lowe, and that road could always be traveled again.
If Boston makes a 2-for-1 deal (ie: Bass + Pressey) to get to 15 players, I'm seeing only one name that makes total sense: Kendrick Perkins.— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) October 18, 2014
One feasible idea that comes to mind is the return of Kendrick Perkins. It's a long shot, and highly unlikely, but on paper it makes sense for both teams. Once Mitch McGary returns from his broken foot, the Thunder won't have much of a need for Perkins.
With Kevin Durant's unfortunate injury, Perry Jones will be thrust into the starting lineup, therefore weakening their frontcourt depth. Brandon Bass could be a serviceable option for them, and they could simply waive Phil Pressey.
Perkins might not play much in Boston, but with his team-first mentality, he could be a leader in the locker room, someone who could help Brad Stevens' young roster learn the word "Ubuntu."
Plus, it wouldn't hurt to have Perk around if it meant keeping his friend, Rajon Rondo, happy in Boston.
Option 3: Waiving Will Bynum
It's clear that waiving Will Bynum and eating his salary is the last option for Boston, otherwise it would've happened already. The front office prefers to save money -- no duh, who wouldn't? -- or continue to seek another trade that puts them in the best position as they move forward.
Even if a trade doesn't happen, the intention is there. That's why this article is being written, as some light must be shed on the possibilities.
Things don't always work out in your life the way you want them to, and they don't for NBA franchises either, but thinking outside of the box and looking for the best is still mandatory.
By the end of next week it's most likely that Will Bynum is simply waived by the Boston Celtics, but don't be too surprised if something unexpected happens.