NBA Roundtable

Boston Involved In Trade Market?

In Trade Talk on January 12, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Sam Smith reports on the Chris Bosh sweepstakes (good piece on Chet Walker and the 67 Sixers at the top of the article)

Is that eight or nine teams now trading for Chris Bosh? Sixteen?

The latest was speculation over the weekend about the Lakers, which followed speculation last week about Houston. We know the Bulls’ interest, and Miami’s has been no secret.

Dallas has been mentioned prominently since Bosh is from there, and I’ve heard rumblings about the Celtics to try to begin to retool without going to the bottom like they did at the end of the Bird/McHale/Parish era. And since Danny Ainge, now GM, was part of that he may know best what happened when you let your stars play it out.

It’ll be interesting to see how Danny Ainge handles the Celtics future demise + retooling/rebuilding possibilities. Back when he was a player he thought Red Auerbach was crazy to keep Bird, McHale and Parish together when their bodies were falling apart and the Celtics were unable to get back to the Championship round. Danny said, and still feels this way, that the Celtics should have traded one or more of those players and tried to rebuild the team on the run instead of keeping those players.

So will he do the same for this current edition of the Celtics? Will he even have the opportunity to do so, does Boston have enough trade assets to make a splash in the trade market?

Danny Ainge already tried to get in on the lottery last season but he was hesitant to give up anyone of more importance than Kendrick Perkins in the deal. Reportedly, he was targeting Tyreke Evans.

Trade Assets

Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo is the club’s best trade but he has more value to the Celtics as a player than a trade asset so he’s unlikely to be moved. His youth also makes him a prime option to rebuild around once the Big Three move on.

If Danny were to trade Rondo, it would be incredibly difficult to upgrade him.

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce has been with the Celtics for almost 12 years now. It’s hard to see Boston sending him away to finish his career elsewhere after all he’s done for the club.

Ray Allen

Ray Allen’s expiring contract is Boston’s second best asset after Rondo and is readily available.

However, the market is full of of expiring contracts already and consequently their relative value seems to have decreased as a result. There is also a mixed and somewhat underwhelming bunch of players available for those expiring contracts.

So, there’s a good chance Danny will decide to keep Ray Allen instead of trading him. But Ray is definitely available should the right trade opportunity come along.

Kevin Garnett

Garnett is due $56.5 million over the next three years including this season. An average of just under $19 million a year. His body is gradually breaking down, his effectiveness lowered, his productivity substantially lower (15 + 7.5 versus 22 + 13 three years ago) and his age is getting up there (34 at the end of the season).

As a result, mainly due to his age, the only teams that will be interested in Garnett in a trade will be fellow contenders. Those teams will not give equal value (talent in terms of current ability) for Garnett and they’ll be reluctant to give away elite prospects (possible franchise building blocks) given Garnett’s low number of remaining good years.

Overall, Garnett only has a limited trade market and the possible returns in KG trade package aren’t up to much. So, the Celtics are best off keeping Garnett for the time being. When he’s an expiring contract more options will become available for the Celtics and it’ll be worth readdressing the issue then.

Kendrick Perkins

Boston’s third best trade asset. Perkins has become one of the toughest interior defenders in the league, a very good rebounder, and has a developing offensive game in the works. He’s a very good center.

The downside is that Perkins is only earning $4 million and that contract expires at the end of next season. So he has a big contract extension coming in the near future. $8-9 million is a low/good contract bracket for Perk but it’s possible he earns as much as $10-11 million in the open market. Quality big men are always wanted in free agency, particularly ones who can defend like Perk can.

Also, losing Perkins would make it very difficult for this current Celtics team to maintain their title bid without getting a good big man in return. This is a major flaw in any potential Perkins trade. You don’t want to waste what few remaining quality years the Big Three have left unless it completely alters the future of the club and you’re unlikely to get that type of trade package in return for Perk.

So, Perkins is a good trade asset but a difficult one given (1) his contract (2) the Celtics title aspirations (3) He doesn’t have a sexy game. So to speak. (4) Kendrick Perkins is also the Celtics second best player with youth on their side making him a prime candidate to rebuild around with Rondo.

I’m not sure what you can get for Perkins on the trade market but I don’t like the Celtics chances of getting a superior player and/or being able to handle their present title ambitions.

The Veteran Bench Players

  • Rasheed Wallace — more value as a player than a trade asset — only teams interested in him will be contenders and they won’t give equal value back in return
  • Brian Scalabrine — expiring contract
  • Eddie House — expiring contract
  • Marquis Daniels — expiring contract (he has a trade veto if memory serves)

The Celtics could couple together a couple of those expiring contracts + maybe some of their young players and make a decent offer for a player earning $7-10 million per annum. But at that price range we’re talking about a quality role player rather than a star who’ll help the Celtics rebuild post-Big Three.

Rest Of Roster

  • JR Giddens — low level prospect — Boston didn’t pick up his option. Expires end of year.
  • Bill Walker — low level prospect —
  • Shelden Williams — low level role player on a minimum contract
  • Glen Davis — Boston’s best trade asset off their bench

JR Giddens and Bill Walker have negligible trade value. Maybe a second round pick at best. Ditto for Shelden Williams. They are best utilized by coupling them with the expiring contracts and trying to acquire a role player.

Glen Davis doesn’t have good trade value due to (1) his obvious limitations (2) I suspect that any interested team will be loathe to give up serious talent for him. And by serious talent I mean an established 6th-7th man. Or a good prospect. Teams like Glen Davis but they’re somewhat wary of how much they’re willing to pay him + extremely wary of giving up talent on top of that contract in order to get him.

Future First Round Draft Picks

The Celtics own all their draft picks and are not owed any by other teams.

So, Boston can offer future first round picks which will be at the end of the first round in the immediate sense + possibly high teens/low twenties in the medium term + complete unknown in the long term (4-5 years from now) but likely middle of the pack given Rondo’s talent.

Overall

Boston’s best chance to acquire a major piece that they retool around after the Big Three decline and/or retire is through Ray Allen’s expiring contract. Their second best opportunity is by trading Kendrick Perkins.

The C’s can use their expiring contracts on top of Perk’s deal to match contract values with other teams. Or include young players/draft picks as sweeteners. Or put Ray’s expiring deal on the table along with Perk. In order to maximize Perkins’ value in a trade.

Outside of trading Ray Allen this season … it’s difficult to see Boston having an opportunity to retool the core of their squad until Garnett’s contract.

Final Thought

If the Celtics cannot find a trade for Ray Allen, then I think they are best off maximizing the years they have left with KG-Pierce-Ray and try to win as many championships as possible … and then go through a major rebuilding process once they’re finished.

Once those big contracts come off the books the Celtics can look to immediately rebuild around Rondo through free agency. If that opportunity isn’t available, their next best option is to hold steady, get an additional draft pick and try for free agency again the following season.

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  1. Best trade rumours I’ve seen for Ray Allen are …

    (1) Kevin Martin based trade
    (2) Rip Hamilton + Tayshaun Prince
    (3) Corey Maggette + Anthony Randolph based trade

    I’ve also seen them linked to Chris Bosh but Boston struggles to put anything else of value on the table outside of Ray — lack of prospects + lack of draft picks + lack of talent … just an expiring contract really — which rules them out of those sweepstakes.

    I’ve also seen a Ray Allen + Rajon Rondo trade package linked with New Orleans for Chris Paul but I think that’s a pipe dream. So no deal there either.

    A New York Knicks trade for bad contracts (Curry + Jeffries) in order to get Gallinari. That’s a decent trade but extremely expensive financially for Boston. It also risks their title bid this season (Ray still better than Gallo).

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