You guys know me, I'm the biggest advocate around for making a big trade this year. I want it to happen so bad that it feels like an itch that I can't reach. I just look at this roster and I think, "man, all we need is one more go-to guy in exchange for a couple pieces and we'll be really something special."
Every day I'm searching through the Trade Machine like Gollum searching for his Precious. The perfect trade is out there somewhere, I just need to find it!
But sometimes it is good to step back and consider the alternatives. After all, there are worse things than not making a trade at the deadline. For example, there's making a bad trade at the deadline.
Consider the Nets 2016 pick for a moment. We still don't know where that will land in the lottery but it is going to be high. That could be a very valuable trade commodity on the market at the deadline. It might be worth trading if it brings us back a sure-thing star.
But if we do trade that pick, it immediately vaults to the front of the "what could have been?" line. We'll watch in envy as the other team drafts a player and then longingly watch him develop and grow as a player for years to come.
Sometimes that works out fine. Nobody cares anymore that we traded the number 5 pick for Ray Allen because it led to the 2008 Championship. But there was a real traders-remorse in Boston as we watched guys like Joe Johnson, Chauncey Billups, and even Brandon Roy grow into All Stars elsewhere.
It extends beyond the pick as well. Several of our young players are already good and some of them are getting better by the month. I don't know if any of them has "superstar" type potential, but then again, we don't know for sure that they don't. Few thought that Jimmy Butler could make that leap, but he did.
Don't get me wrong. There's a big risk in over-valuing your assets and winding up with less than you bargained for in the end. If the right deal comes around and we can trade 2 or 3 of these "might be's" for a "sure thing" then I think you have to do it. But it has to be the right "sure thing." Guys like Kevin Love, DeMarcus Cousins, and Gordon Hayward are all players you have to consider if they become available, but not at any price.
If the Celtics simply stand pat and let the deadline pass, that won't be the worst thing in the world. It might actually end up being the best thing that could happen. The team could still buy out David Lee (who would be willing to give up a portion of his salary in order to sign on with a contender) and maybe pick up a free agent or give a D-League guy an extended tryout.
The team will likely make the playoffs and maybe even win a round or (dare I say it?) more. They would likely head into the summer with 3 first rounders and one high lottery pick. They have cap space to play with in free agency and just as many trade chips to dangle via trades. Trades can be more readily made in the offseason as teams are re-working their rosters rather than focusing on the playoff push.
The bottom line is that Danny Ainge has a lot of options at the deadline. If the right deal comes along, he shouldn't hesitate. If it doesn't materialize, he would be wise to take the option of standing pat.