With the trade deadline just about a week and a half away, teams across the league are quickly making decisions on whether they are going to be buyers or sellers at this deadline. This is the time of the year where the harsh reality hits for some teams on the state of their franchise. On one hand, the team finds that they do not have enough talent to compete for a title and it would be a smarter decision to sell off the pieces the team has and build for next season. The other is for a star player to demand a trade knowing the deadline is approaching as we have just recently seen with the Anthony Davis bombshell this morning. Without an option to re-sign Davis, the Pelicans’ franchise is looking toward a gloomy, Anthony Davis-less future. The trade deadline is one of the most important times of the season for teams choosing their franchise’s direction.
This Anthony Davis news has definitely changed the conversation surrounding the upcoming trade deadline. It was looking to be a quiet deadline without many big names available. It will be very interesting to see some of the godfather offers come in for this franchise-changing talent.
As for the Celtics, we should all know their situation at this point. They cannot trade for Davis until after July 1st due to the Rose Rule and Kyrie Irving’s contract. The Celtics are not including Kyrie in a trade, and Kyrie is not taking a pay cut by signing his extension now. Unfortunately, that is the situation, and there is really nothing Boston can do about it until this summer. The team’s main focus should remain on this season and this roster of players. They need to sit back and watch the trade deadline go by without trying to make any big moves.
Now, this may not be a popular opinion with Celtics Twitter after the Saturday night loss to the Warriors and now other teams having a chance at Anthony Davis, but the fact remains that the team does not need to make a big splash to contend for a title this year. The two biggest reasons the Celtics should not make any trade deadline moves are that there is not enough realistic talent on the trade block to move the needle for them and Boston currently has an incredible roster that still is learning how to play together at the highest level.
Outside of Davis, not enough available talent on the market
There simply is not enough impact players on the trade block this season who the Celtics could acquire. The biggest asset you can have as a seller at the trade deadline is a player on their last year of an expiring contract. Teams who are looking to improve their roster will much more easily be able to fit an expiring contract on their books. It is a safe gamble which teams are more likely to take over a long-term investment. With that being said, those players are just not available in the trade market this year.
Before the addition of Anthony Davis, the trade block really only included names like Dennis Smith Jr., Kent Bazemore, Thon Maker, and the Grizzlies’ duo of Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. Sure, it would be interesting to see them on the Celtics, but the important thing to consider is how they would fit in with the current roster as it is constructed.
Now more than ever, the Celtics’ assets will be on display for the league to see. The past five-plus years of collecting assets have all been for this moment when Anthony Davis officially became available. His trade demand will have the rumor mill churning out news about what each team is willing to offer. Teams will have “rumored” deals leak out to see what the value of Anthony Davis really is. Since the Celtics can not make any moves on him until the summer, why would they handicap their bargaining position by giving up assets for fringe contributors?
This is why keeping all of the assets intact is so important at this trade deadline. A little patience will go a long ways by passing on deals at this year’s trade deadline.
Sticking with the current roster
The second argument, and a much more important reason, is that this roster has the talent to compete at the highest level without making any moves. It is the reason this team was th favorite to win the Eastern Conference, and it is the reason they can go toe-toe with any team in the league. Even as it is hard to hear for some, this team still needs more time to gel. Despite their early struggles and inconsistency, the Celtics have an incredible roster with potential for more in-season growth.
As mentioned previously, the talent available would not be enough to move the needle for this team. The Celtics have such a deep team already that the new talent being brought in would have a big adjustment with a regressed amount of minutes fitting in with a new role in this lineup. These guys still are finding how they fit with one another and the last thing they need is another guy to come in to take up more of the minutes off the bench.
The best strategy for everyone is to have faith in the current roster, and then look to the summer for the big blockbuster trade. This deadline is not the time the Celtics should try and change up their roster while simultaneously giving away assets. The team has the talent on the roster to have a real shot at a championship this season without any moves needing to be made. It is definitely frustrating at times from a fan’s point-of-view, but the Celtics still have time to build up and have the lineups running on all cylinders.