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Should Brad Stevens go all-in? (trade deadline mailbag answers)

I question the questions because I have no good answers.

New York Knicks Vs Boston Celtics At TD Garden Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Many of you were kind enough to send me questions. I did my best to answer many of them below. If I didn’t answer your question, you should totally take it personally and be offended. Or maybe I just ran out of time. One of those.

MercuryPen

Do you think the Celtics off-season changes in management were a mistake?

At the time, I felt optimistic of the potential for a new voice in leadership in Ime Udoka, and glad that brad stevens was staying in the organization. Now, with the team clearly in need of someone who can make some shrewd moves, I would feel much more confident with an established coach on the sidelines and Danny Ainge (even for how much he has frustrated me) on the hunt for a third star. What do you think?

Well, we’re only halfway through the first season under this management team, so I think it is very early to make any definitive judgments yet. Also, keep in mind that one of the primary challenges that Brad inherited from Danny was a cap sheet that limited the moves we could make. His first move (trading Kemba Walker and a pick for Al Horford) was with an eye toward creating future cap flexibility.

Put another way, this year was always going to be a reset. We hoped that they could be more competitive during this season and show some more progress as a team. But let’s wait until the end of the season at least before declaring it a mistake.

RealIsBetter

What do you think Smart’s value is?

Losing him will improve next year’s draft pick. Between the improved pick and what the Celtics get back for Smart, would it be likely to help improve this team in the long term?

In my heart, he’s priceless.

On the trade market, he’s probably worth a first round pick (probably at least top 3 protected). Of course any team trading for Smart is in win-now mode and thus their own pick won’t be in the top 15 or so.

It might be possible to swap Smart for a younger guard with some upside.

I don’t know, this topic hurts my head AND my heart, so I’m going to default to “he’s probably worth more to us than to another team” and call it a day.

TheNextTruth

What is Richardson value in terms of a 2022 draft pick? 25-30? 20-25? 15-20?

If we trade Richardson for a top 20 pick can we combine that with ours to move into the top ten?

Seems like the best way for brad to salvage something from this season.

Keep in mind we got Richardson essentially for free this offseason. I don’t know if half a good year is going to raise his value into the 20’s. Obviously we wouldn’t know where the pick will land by Feb. 10, but if you are talking a trade in the offseason then he might be worth a mid-20’s pick at best.

I think it is much more likely that Richardson is used for salary matching purposes if and when the Celtics make a swing for a 3rd star (or at least a big salary piece of the puzzle).

badax33

Jeff, here’s a crazy trade for you.

Horford, Junacho and Shroeder and a 2nd round pick to the Lakers for Westbrook and 2 of Bazemore, Jordon or Bradley (we probably need to use the Kemba TPE to match salaries).

The Lakers get back Shroeder who they like. Can use Lebron strictly as PG as they did before Westbrook. And they save money on the LT.

We get a true lead guard who will push the ball, run the PnR, and has the ability to create shots for his team mates.

I completely agree... that this is a crazy idea. No. Just, no.

jsinisca

Which do you think is a more pressing need for this team: acquiring a true power forward, a true point guard, or acquiring more shooters to surround Tatum and Brown? I view all of these as flaws on the current roster and was curious who you think they should target.

Good question. I’m not sure how many “true” point guards there are left in this world (and too often people use that term when they really mean “can’t shoot.”

So I’ll cheat and say we should be looking for a power forward that can shoot and defend. Of course most of the league is looking for those guys. So I’ll be happy to settle for any good shooters. This team needs more spacing in a bad way.

ParquetNotParkay

I think this is going to be perhaps the most boring trade deadline in recent memory simply because I don’t get any sense management has a vision for where this team is going. Win now? Land a star? (which one?) Develop our young guys? Cut loose dead weight? Get under the tax? Acquire assets? We just have no discernible plan. Without that, nothing major is going to happen. Just window dressing.

Well, I would submit that boring isn’t always bad at the trade deadline. It is very possible that the team has already picked their plan and they are focused on a 3rd star. The bigger deals are usually more available in the offseason. If so, they aren’t going to waste any valuable trade assets on a quick fix solution.

Bottom line: We might have to be patient and wait till the summer.

Leo Vincent

What’s the best case scenario coming out of the trade deadline? Is it 2 second rounders for Shroder, get rid of Juancho, and pick up a good role player? What’s actually realistic?

I think what you laid out might be the most realistic plan. Get what you can for Schroder (2nd rounders?), dump Juancho’s salary so ownership can reset the tax, and try to add someone who can pick up some rotation minutes (Jeff Green?). Maybe a backup point guard since we’d be losing Schroder.

With that said, I think there’s at least an outside shot that the team can swing a trade for Harrison Barnes or someone relatively equivalent to him. Don’t forget that there are trade exceptions that we can use. If the right long-term deal comes along, I would hope that the owners would agree to spending into the tax.

nba-fan

Punting yet another season by staying put will make me personally very unhappy.

I find it much more acceptable if they go for it and miss.

By going for I have in mind keeping Brown and Tatum and getting a player or two like Murray, Fred Van Fleet, Siakam, Derrick White, etc. at any cost in terms of picks.

It still takes two to tango. If the Spurs have no interest in trading Murray, you can’t make them. If Fred VanVleet hit the market, a lot of teams would be lining up to bid on him and the Celtics could very well get out-bid. I’m sure they’ll try, but there’s a real risk of overpaying for someone (like say, Siakam) who’s not a great fit, and thus not a real difference maker and being stuck with a core that doesn’t work. Then you aren’t just wasting a season, but multiple seasons in the prime of the Jay’s careers.

Tom Bisson

I’m guessing the Celtics will be bargain shoppers as they don’t want to spend their better assets for a different player. I don’t understand why people want to trade Josh Richardson. He’s been a great addition to the bench for a very moderate cost. I get why people want to trade Schroder, but he’s another valuable piece that costs almost nothing so why hurt your team this year for a pair of second-round picks? It’s pretty clear that Udoka has zero interest in developing Langford, Nesmith or Pritchard so they should be traded for whatever you can get in the way of veteran role players who Udoka will actually put in the game. Same goes for the other members of the DNP-CD club.

I’m not in a rush to trade the young guys at their lowest value. If the team is looking for wins, they’ll commit to playing veterans. If they fall out of the playoff race, you’ll see the kids get more run.

The funny thing is that last year we relied upon the kids too much, so I was itching to see the team add some quality veterans. They have some decent veterans now, and part of me wants to see the kids again. I guess I’m just wishing we had a better mix of both.

I’ll use this space to say something else that’s been on my mind. When you step back and think about it, the same is true as it was in the offseason (and the year before that). This team goes as far as Tatum and Brown take them. Between injuries, COIVD, and weird slumps, that hasn’t been very far lately. But fundamentally those guys might be taking on too much of the load (especially offensively). This team needs a big talent upgrade and that might not happen till the summer at the earliest.

So set your trade deadline expectations appropriately! (I will now immediately ignore my own advice and get my hopes up for a franchise saving trade by Feb. 10 th)

Thanks again everyone!