This past August, CelticsBlog readers voted for which players they thought Danny Ainge should trade in order to balance the roster. At the time, the Boston Celtics had a logjam of players at both shooting guard and power forward, which is one reason why various transactions have been made.
Interestingly, only two players outlined in the Keep Him or Trade Him series remain on the team -- Brandon Bass and Kris Humphries. All of the others -- MarShon Brooks, Jordan Crawford, Courtney Lee, and Fab Melo -- have been traded in three separate deals.
|Still a Celtic?
|PF Brandon Bass
|PF Kris Humphries
|SG MarShon Brooks
|No, traded to GSW
|SG Jordan Crawford
|No, traded to GSW
|SG Courtney Lee
|No, traded to MEM
|C Fab Melo
|No, traded to MEM
Trade #1: Fab Melo for Donte Greene
The Boston Celtics had to get under the luxury tax line, and this was the easiest way to do that. Fab Melo was set to earn $1.3 million, and Donte Greene had a non-guaranteed contract. As expected, the Celtics waived Greene, freeing themselves from paying luxury taxes this season.
But the trade also meant that the Celtics acknowledged their mistake in drafting Melo in the first place. It seems like Celtics fans weren't ready to do that since only 56 percent voted to trade him. Of course, Fab didn't have much value, which influenced the vote, but I'm sure almost every fan looks back now and agrees with that deal.
Trade #2: Courtney Lee for Jerryd Bayless
With 69 percent voting to keep Courtney Lee, it was clear that fans wanted to see him play out his contract with Boston. He actually got off to a fantastic start, hitting 44.2 percent of his three-pointers in his 30 games with the Celtics. Lee got back to his "3-and-D" ways, which made him an attractive player in the first place.
But with two years left on Lee's deal, the Celtics opted to trade him for an expiring contract in Jerryd Bayless. Lee was due for close to $5.5 million next year, but the C's will now have the room to do what they want in free agency. They have more freedom to resign a player like Avery Bradley, or to make a run at another player.
Trade #3: MarShon Brooks and Jordan Crawford for Joel Anthony and a conditional 1st round pick
Why?: Accumulate assets and open up playing time
Looking back, it's surprising to see how many fans wanted the Celtics to keep MarShon Brooks and trade Jordan Crawford. The script was flipped during the season, after Crawford got off to a terrific start and Brooks failed to make an impact.
Danny Ainge decided to deal them both in the same deal, one that confused some fans. In return, Boston didn't appear to get very much: Joel Anthony, an overpaid stiff center and a conditional first round pick, which the team may never even acquire.
What the deal did was open up was playing time for a young player like Phil Pressey. Had this deal not been made, Pressey probably would've been assigned to the D-League, which wouldn't have been the worst thing in the world, but nothing beats experience in the NBA. Since the deal, Pressey has averaged almost 20 minutes per game and appears to be finding his shot.
The Celtics also received another asset with the first round draft pick. Of course, they'll only receive it if the Philadelphia 76ers make the playoffs this season or next, otherwise it turns into a second rounder. But assets are assets, and it could become of use next season.
Trade #4: Who will be traded next?
But with exactly one week until the NBA's February 20th trade deadline, can these previous deals clue us in to what potential trades may be on the horizon?
Two deals were made to open up space on the payroll, and the other was meant to open up playing time for Pressey. Could Danny Ainge's next one follow along the same lines?
Sure, which is why names like Brandon Bass and Jeff Green have been thrown out there in so many rumors. Trading Bass would open up more time for a rookie like Kelly Olynyk, and it'd open up cap space this offseason.
Dealing Green is a little more complicated, since he's arguably a player that they'd like to build around. In any case, trading him would likely save the Celtics even more money, freeing them to make more moves this summer. He would also net the team future assets in the form of young players or draft picks.
Then there's Kris Humphries, who is performing extremely well and has an expiring contract. Contending teams may prefer to deal for him over Bass since they don't have to commit to him after this season. Ainge has hinted that he'd be open to resigning Humphries, but if a good deal with assets comes his way, he'd probably take it.
Avery Bradley's name has also been thrown out there as a potential player who could be traded. At only 23-years-old, Bradley's best days are ahead of him, but he's set to be a restricted free agent and will look to cash in this summer. Do the Celtics see him as a part of their future or will they look to acquire what they can in return for him?
At 19-35, the Boston Celtics only have a slim chance at making the playoffs, so it would be surprising if a deal wasn't made at this point in the season. With only one week until the trade deadline, stay tuned to CelticsBlog.com for all the latest rumors and rumblings around the league.