After all the the trade chatter, after all the surfaced rumors, after all the hype of the NBA trading deadline, the Boston Celtics remained quiet on Thursday, making no moves. This comes as a complete surprise, considering all the rumbling of trade talks between the Celtics and several teams. Needless to say, the 2014 trade deadline was a non-fulfillment of our hopes and expectations.
Boston currently has more skill on their team than a rebuilding team should have. Players like Jeff Green, Brandon Bass and Kris Humphries are solid role players, however, role players on a rebuilding team basically creates an oxymoron. Green, Bass and Humphries would make terrific additions to any competitive team, but they don’t do the Celtics any favors when the team is attempting to obtain a high-lottery pick.
Danny Ainge relieved the team of two key role players earlier this season by trading away the services of Courtney Lee and Jordan Crawford. As a result, the Celtics took an enormous step back with a 2-15 record in the month of January. At the time, it seemed clear what direction Ainge was taking this team. Trading away veteran role players, stock piling draft picks, and taking on expiring contracts in order to “tank” seemed to be the plan.
At the deadline, Ainge had yet another terrific opportunity to trade away players that aren’t part of the rebuilding process and ultimately the future. Instead, the Celtics GM displayed a rather inconsistent direction by keeping his current roster intact, while teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks made necessary moves to secure their lottery positions.
Now, not all the blame should fall on Ainge; it’s not always that simple to make such transactions. Green may be coveted, but who knows what other teams would be willing to give up in order to acquire his services. However, there is no excuse as to why Bass is still on this roster, as several teams were interested in the power forward. Bass has a trade-friendly contract, isn’t going to cost much, and he could essentially be the missing piece on a winning team like the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The situation makes one wonder if Ainge overvalued his players. Overvaluing trade chips is appropriate to an extent — for example, the trade with the Brooklyn Nets that sent Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce out of Boston. Too bad we are talking about Bass here. How much was Ainge asking for him? No one should expect much in return for Bass. He’s a productive player and makes this team much better, but Boston isn’t dealing with a star-caliber player here. A couple of draft picks or an expiring contract would suffice.
The lack of initiation on Ainge’s part confuses me and only shows that the direction this team is going is as clear as mud. He was doing a great job putting the Celtics in a position to rebuild for the future. Now, we will just have to see how it all unfolds and trust that Ainge has a much larger plan in mind.