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Mission Impossible: Operation "Trade Jeff Green and Brandon Bass"

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Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

You know it. I know it. Anyone and everyone with any inkling of the NBA knows it.

Danny Ainge is trying ("desperately" some would say) to trade Jeff Green and Brandon Bass.

The problem is, that might be a Mission Impossible type task.

Rajon Rondo returns to Boston with Celtics rebuild in full swing | NBA | Sporting News

There could be more yet to come—league sources say the Celtics are actively looking for homes for Brandon Bass and Jeff Green, as they’ve been doing for a year now. But it is unlikely that either will bring back a sizable return, if they’re dealt at all. There is also new acquisition Brandan Wright, a player the Celtics like but would be willing to move if he brought back another draft pick.

You see, anyone who has a fundamental understanding of negotiating will understand that Danny Ainge isn't in the best bargaining position to get value for them.  When everyone knows you are selling, you have a weak position. You don't have the "alright, I'll just hold onto them" position to play. You have to sell and you are simply going to have to take the best offer that's provided.

Granted, if Ainge thought that he could re-sign Green and Bass, both would and could be nice pieces to have on any kind of team that they are building.  Each has a valuable skillset.  But both will also be free agents this offseason (Jeff Green has a player option that he most certainly will be exercising).  They will have the ability to go to any team of their choosing and with the new TV deal teams are going to be more willing than ever to pay top dollar for mid level guys.

The Celtics themselves will have tons of cap room, but they probably will be focusing on getting stars, either through free agency or through trades (they have a fat $13M TPE to use from the Rondo trade now).  That means Jeff and Brandon are not likely in our long term plans.

So all of that explains why Danny Ainge is trying to get something for them by the trade deadline instead of losing them for nothing.  He traded Rondo for the same reasons because he's in the asset accumulation business right now. Note: I think you can throw Brandan Wright in this mix as well, since he's also a free agent at the end of the year.

Let's start with what teams might be interested.  You are probably only talking about teams that are trying to add a piece or two to make a final playoff push.  So cross off any rebuilding teams.  Note that I didn't say "lottery teams" because there are some squads out West that are going to try hard to make the playoffs that will still be sitting there next to the Celtics watching ping pong balls.

A handful of teams that I think could be interested are the Blazers, Rockets, Clippers, Suns, Grizzlies, Pelicans, Thunder, Cavs, and maybe the Raptors, Hawks, Heat and Bucks.  There might be more, but those are the ones that jump off the screen to me.

So what can he reasonably expect to get for either Green or Bass?  Obviously Ainge would like to get draft picks and/or young players.  First round picks would be great - even at the end of the first round.  But second rounders have some value too, especially if you are also getting a cheap, decent prospect in the mix.  Another given is that Ainge won't want to take on salary that lasts beyond this year (unless he's also dumping Gerald Wallace in the deal).

Finding that particular mix of willing trade partners, matching salaries, and some kind of value to make the trade worthwhile is going to be difficult.  But Danny Ainge has been working on this problem for a while now - probably over a year.  He's also got another month and a half to figure it out.

We too have some time to tackle this, so instead of giving you one long-but-still-over-simplified article on the subject, I'm going to tackle this step by step.  I'm going to try to come up with trade ideas that are fully vetted.  Ones that give us a realistic return, work in the trade checker, and actually make sense for both teams.  I'll reach out to bloggers of other teams and make sure that I'm not being a complete homer.

Likewise I'm going to extend the challenge to you...

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to trade Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, or any of the veterans on the Celtics.  As always, should you or any of your fellow commentors be caught proposing a homer trade and get laughed at, CelticsBlog will disavow any knowledge of your actions.  This post will self destruct (disappear off the front page) sometime in the next week.  Good luck.

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