With the inevitable news that some of the camp invites were waived, the Herald's Steve Bulpett reported that "President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Herald Monday night he expects to have that situation resolved by Saturday...but before (Perry) Jones is simply let go, the Celtics will explore trade possibilities that, if they come to fruition, could alleviate their roster crunch through other means."
Since the rebuild started two summers ago, Ainge has been very frugal with all his assets. If he can even extract a late second round pick or a trade exception, he'll do it. It's what makes him one of the best GM's in the league and the Celtics set up with several options down the road.
With Perry Jones III being the most likely player to go, there are a few phone calls that Ainge could make. (I've been GIFing a lot from the preseason games so I thought I'd include some of Jones highlights as sort of a video resume. Spoiler alert: they're not great.) According to Spotrac, three teams have the available cap space to absorb the final guaranteed year of PJIII's deal on a look-see basis: the Portland Trailblazers, the Utah Jazz, and of course, the Philadelphia 76ers.
Philly seems like the most likely candidate, because, well, they're Philly but they seem fairly stocked in the front court. The same goes for Portland. Their rebuild has included bringing in Ed Davis, Mason Plumlee, and Noah Vonleh in the fold to pair with Meyers Leonard and Chris Kaman. Could Utah be an option? They've got Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert cemented in their starting lineup, they drafted Trey Lyles, and they love Joe Ingles as a do-it-all big. I don't see Jones on the Jazz because they'll probably just sign one of their camp invites, notably Jeff Withey.
So who else? There are teams that have room on their roster that could send us non-guaranteed players back to be immediately cut, but I'd imagine they'd only do that if they truly thought Jones could help them immediately. With their style of play, the Phoenix Suns could be an option. I searched for "Perry Jones III rumors" on HoopsHype and the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets came up as former suitors for Jones. The Lakers were interested three years ago when Jones was drafted out of Baylor, but they're in the process of cutting players, too. The Nets have the roster space, but would Billy King ever deal with Danny again? Probably not.
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And maybe it won't be Jones getting the axe (even though the above clip of Brad Stevens reacting to PJIII's ISO long-2 doesn't do him any favors). It's been suggested that because they're redundant in the rotation right now and with the emergence of the rookies, Evan Turner and Jared Sullinger could be on their way out. They're more likely trade candidates during the season, but Ainge does have to have the roster down to 15 by Monday, so it's possible that a deal could be struck sooner. However, with both Buckeyes, it's a tougher deal to make because you're looking for 2-for-1 trades now.
So who could use a revitalized Turner or a potential double-double in Sully? If I'm Danny, I'm looking out west to find teams that are trying to get over the hump. The top-5 elite seem set with their rosters, but teams that are looking to make the playoffs could help their chances with veteran additions. Evan Turner could fill back up ball handling duties with Dante Exum lost for the year in Utah and Tyreke Evans having knee surgery and Jrue Holiday slowly coming back from injury for the Pelicans. Sullinger could benefit from more of a slow downed pace, so the grit and grind style of Memphis makes sense.
It's all just spit balling at this point, but we know that Ainge will do his due diligence to see if he can get anything out of his roster before he just cuts a player. Tim already has an idea brewing:
Jared Sullinger and Perry Jones for Joel Embiid.
I know a report recently came out that Embiid has been insubordinate and isn't listening to his doctors or management. But how much does that have to do with him versus the direction this team is going. If I was with the Sixers, I don't know how motivated I'd be to get back either.
Here the Celtics get a guy who was thought to be a generational talent in the low post while the Sixers get an actual power forward in Sullinger to put next to either Okafor or Noel and Jones is another young piece they can add to their core group of guys.
Picks obviously might have to exchange hands but I don't really think the Celtics lose here even if Embiid doesn't pan out.
Any other armchair GM's have any proposals? Respond in the comments.