Courtney Lee‘s contract was shed in a trade that sent him to the Memphis Grizzlies. In doing so, Boston saved about $12 million in salary. Two days ago, Jordan Crawford was traded to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for future draft picks and a washed-up center, Joel Anthon. Crawford was a big part of the Celtics’ offense so far this season. He was a major reason for the success the team seldom experienced, and his absence will impact the team going forward.
It is clear what direction Ainge is going in. He wants the Celtics to lose some games, hit the lottery and potentially make a huge splash in the trade market. The question is, in order to obtain younger talent, draft picks or an expiring salary, which Celtics player is the next to be moved?
I feel that every player on the current roster is expendable at this point. Some more than others, but if the right deal comes up, Ainge shouldn’t hesitate to trade any of his assets.
Players that should only be traded for a the right price includes Rajon Rondo, Jared Sullinger, Avery Bradley, Kris Humphries and Kelly Olynyk. It is unclear which players Ainge will ultimately build around, but these players should not be traded for the sake of being traded.
Rondo could potentially be a franchise cornerstone, Sullinger has shown a lot of potential, Bradley is still young and has a great upside, while Olynyk is still quite young and could be a solid role player. The only reason Humphries is on the list is because his contract expires after this year.
However, if an opportunity arises to acquire a premier player using any of these pieces, Ainge should pull the trigger. Otherwise, these players are worth keeping because they have a lot of upside and much to offer in their futures.
Players that should absolutely be dealt include Jeff Green, Brandon Bass and Gerald Wallace. Green is not the guy the Celtics hoped he would be. We were all seduced by some of his big moments, but he’s nothing more than a 16 points per game type of player. But to a contending team, he has value as a third or fourth option, so he may bring some significant assets back to Boston in return. Plus, it would be nice to shed his contract of three more years at roughly $27 million.
Bass is under contract for two more years at about $13 million, and could certainly help a contending team in the playoffs as a role player. Wallace may be impossible to trade, but it is worth a shot. It would be a disappointment to be stuck with the remaining three years and $30 million of his contract on the books.
Now if these players can’t bring back value, then the Celtics could include Vitor Faverani, Phil Pressey, or any of the thousand draft picks they possess to sweeten the deal. The Celtics have a lot of leverage in trade talks, and the possibilities are endless.
Ainge is attempting to have an offseason like the one of 2007, in which he acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to join forces with Paul Pierce to form the “Big Three.” All the microscopic deals he makes this season are part of a master plan that will lead the Celtics to another championship someday. I like the direction that he is taking the Celtics, and it’ll be interesting to see the next trick he pulls out of his magic hat.