One of the most common questions I get is something along the lines of the following: How likely is it that the Celtics will actually trade for [insert star player name]?
Well, I wanted to do a quick one-stop answer to several of those names.
For fun, I'll rank the likelihood on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is "keep dreaming fanboy" and 10 is "Woj just tweeted it."
I don't have any insider knowledge so these are simply my educated guesses and SWAGs. I'm trying to look at it from the perspective of the other team, but I can't promise that my own green goggled eyes aren't impairing my vision. So please keep the comments questioning my sanity and wondering about my non-prescription drug intake to an absolute minimum. Thanks in advance.
Now most people have already skipped past this intro down to the names, where they will promptly skip reading most of the words in their mad rush to get to the comments section and explain how and why they are so much smarter than me. So for fun I'll borrow this space for some random thoughts.
I just read the book A Light Between Oceans, and I'm so glad I'm done with that book. It was well written, but it is just an ocean of sadness, and I really get emotionally involved when I read. In short, I really shouldn't read sad books. I'm starting to enjoy yard work. Does that make me crazy or just old? I think the latter because the only gift request I can think of for my birthday is new socks.
Anyway, on to the list.
This is my personal favorite target. Bulls fans are sick and tired of hearing about this, just like I was sick of the Rondo rumors. Bulls fans can't imagine trading Butler for anything (never mind our pathetic excuse of middling assets), just like I could never imagine trading Rondo for only one first-rounder and some throw-in player named Jae. Crazy things happen, and that Bulls team needs some serious changes.
Likelihood: 3 - because the Bulls will likely take the safer route and build around Butler
Danny Ainge used to play with Larry Bird, and that means that we can get the Kevin McHale special, right? Don't count on it. Larry is certainly unpredictable, so I guess anything could happen. Also, if there's a trade that has zero rumors, but happens completely out of left field, this would be the one. That said, there's little to no incentive for Bird to trade his cornerstone player.
Likelihood: 2 - because green runs deep, but not that deep
"Sell crazy someplace else, we're all stocked up here." Cousins might be the most likely on this list to actually change teams and the Celtics have been interested and make a lot of sense from a strategic perspective. But I just can't get past the persistent rumors that nobody seems to enjoy being near this guy. That seems like a thing that wouldn't be productive.
Likelihood: 5 - because I'm always wrong about these sorts of things and it will probably happen just because I don't want it to happen
Doc Rivers seems adamant that he's going to keep his big 3 together. But we'll see what happens when the trade offers roll in. He'll want to keep things quiet so that he doesn't upset any egos, which is where old buddy Danny comes in. The tricky thing is that Doc will want a star veteran player in return, so the Celtics might need to get a 3rd team involved.
Likelihood: 4 - because Doc knows Danny is better at being a GM than him
Old habits die hard, right? Kevin is still a really skilled big man who could be a monster in a different system. Things are going great in Cleveland right now, but if they hit another brick wall in the Finals, the team might look to shake things up, and Love is the most likely to get voted off the island. With that said, I think that Love is lower on the Celtics' priority list these days and might only be a backup option if other plans don't work out.
Likelihood: 3 - because he's obviously going to the Clippers in the Blake three-way trade, right?
Wait a minute, I thought we were talking about stars? Who invited the rook to this party? He's got the offensive skills to pay the bills, but his defense writes checks that his lateral movement can't cash. Doesn't seem like a great fit for the Celtics.
Likelihood: 5 - again, if I don't like the idea, it will probably happen and it will work out great because I'm really bad at predicting things (Isaiah Thomas didn't make much sense to me at the time either)
Trading the 16 and 23 picks to move up into the late lottery
Danny Ainge is going to fall in love with some player that is too low on draft boards to pick at number 3 but too high to fall to 16. He doesn't need 3 picks in the first round, so he can use his lower picks to go get his guy. The downside is that the Suns, Nuggets, and Sixers also have 3 picks each, so teams looking for picks will have options.
Likelihood: 7 - this just makes so much sense
So the next logical question is "how much is it going to cost to get these guys?" I don't have a specific answer, but I would venture a guess that it will hurt. We're talking multiple first-rounders (including the Nets picks), Avery Bradley and/or Jae Crowder, and more. You gotta pay to play, and at some point Ainge might very well decide to overpay just to get a deal done. Every indication is that he's "eager" to get a deal done. Just be prepared for the high price of admission.
Ok, now if you have read all this to the very end, you have my appreciation and sympathy. Go write some comments now. If you haven't registered an account, you really should. I bet you are smarter than all of us. You just need to prove it.