It seemed pretty clear that the intentions of the Boston Celtics are to tank the 2013-2014 NBA season in the interest of grabbing a high draft pick to start rebuilding their franchise. This all became relatively apparent on the night of the 2013 NBA Draft when they dealt two of their biggest stars, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, to the Brooklyn Nets for overpaid and invaluable players.
However, with Rajon Rondo still on the roster, even with him likely not returning until the middle of the season, it’s hard to say that the Celtics are 100 percent buying into tanking. With the move they made on Thursday, one that didn’t include Rondo, it’s pretty clear what Boston’s intentions are.
On Thursday, after reports of talks between the Celtics and the Memphis Grizzlies, a deal was reached where the Celtics will send center Fab Melo to Memphis in exchange for Donte Green, per Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston.
It’s hard to believe that trading an unproven and lowly player like Melo is a signal that a team is tanking, but that’s honestly the case here. Sure, Melo has played in just six NBA games and has averaged only 1.2 points, 0.5 rebounds and 0.3 blocks in six minutes per game over that time, but he was likely going to see minutes for Boston had he remained on their roster.
Now the Celtics have Green on their roster, a player who has never realized his potential, and have two unproven rookies in Kelly Olynyk and Vitor Faverani at the center position. That’s a pretty good indicator that this team is looking beyond the upcoming season.
The larger repercussions of this deal could be that a Rondo trade, something that’s been rumored all summer, could be coming in the near future. Unless the Celtics truly believe the 27-year-old who is notoriously difficult to deal with at times is part of their future, Rondo is the last piece to be moved in order for a full rebuild and tank-job to take place. This Melo trade could be the precursor to any Rondo trade if it’s going to happen.