We have already heard that Marcus Smart could be available for a first rounder. That first rounder could then be flipped or packaged in a 3 way deal to acquire another player. Lou Williams and Tyreke Evans are the ones most often linked to the Celtics lately.
All of that makes for wonderful blog content and conversation starters, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the Celtics are going to make a move. Nor do they really need to.
The team will soon be adding Greg Monroe to grab rebounds and provide bench scoring for the stretch run and playoffs (see more about the timing of that deal here). They will still, theoretically, have cap space enough to add someone to a minimum deal if someone becomes available on the buyout market. (Note that they’d have to release a player to make that happen since Monroe fills the 15th and final roster spot.)
It makes sense to explore the market for Marcus Smart since he’ll be a restricted free agent this summer. On the other hand, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of teams that will have cap space to burn this summer and Smart could find himself with few high dollar options. Be it in free agency or the trade market, I keep coming back to the conclusion that few teams will value Marcus Smart and his unorthodox game as highly as the Celtics do.
As for the complex math equations involved in how much money the Celtics are willing to pay Smart and what impact that would have on the salary cap, luxury tax, potential repeater tax penalties, and so forth ...that is why the Celtics have smart guys like Mike Zarren around.
The point here is that Danny Ainge has an idea of what he’d move certain pieces for and what he’s willing to pay for other pieces. If that sounds cold and calculating and somehow still a compliment then I’ve done my job describing the situation.
The Celtics are operating from a position of strength and thus there’s no urgency to make a trade. On the other hand, they’re always willing to listen to offers. Or rather, they are happy to make comically lopsided offers that get leaked to the media for a few guffaws on twitter. But hey, you never know unless you ask. Besides, every once in a while a good deal materializes from that unrealistic starting point.
There’s still time for things to heat up and occasionally something happens that nobody was expecting. Just don’t be overly surprised if the deadline comes and goes and nothing materializes for the Celtics.