We’re a little over 24 hours away from the NBA Trade Deadline (Thursday at 3pm, or about when Andy Gresh gets fussy, starts whining about how football’s over and needs to lay down for a nap). Here’s what the Celtics need to do…
The trade deadline’s a big deal. For many teams, it’s the last chance to drastically change their rosters, destinies and hopes; and not only this year, but for many seasons to come.
While Gresh might think the average Bostonian pays less attention to the C’s than Gresh allots to maintaining a basic level of decent personal hygiene, I’m here to drop some truth bombs (along with some predictions) concerning this town’s greatest (and not to mention latest) Championship franchise, including why Ray Allen should be ASKING for a trade and why the Cavs WON’T be getting Amar’e Stoudemire.
Just as we did last time, these truth bombs are not necessarily based on stats, or insider information. I’m just a fan, but these are 5 things, opinions or nuggets are things I feel all fans need to keep in mind when rooting for the C’s. If you can’t wrap your head around these points, you’re not being the best (and unbiased) fan you can be. Now, if only I knew how to introduce them in a snazzy Bill Simmons-like way…
Here’s the Truth: No, that’s way too cheesy.
INCOMING!!!! Wow. That’s terrible.
#1 – Danny Ainge should be open to trading ANYONE on the roster.
Yes, EVERYONE. They should ALL be up for discussion: KG, Rondo, Perk and even the Captain, Paul Pierce. Everybody’s focusing on Ray Allen, or a package of any of the bench guys, because those are the players we’d be OK with seeing walk out of town. Yes, we’d miss Sheed, Big Baby, or Eddie House; but we’ve all seen the rather obvious warts on their game, and we could talk ourselves into seeing them traded if it meant we’d be getting better (and hopefully, younger) talent in return. While it was nice to see Paul Pierce lifting a trophy over his head in Dallas last weekend, the next one I want to see him raise is the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
Problem is, it takes (at least) two teams to tango, and nobody’s just going to help us out by doing us a favor for the hell of it. Other teams want to get a good deal, too. This idea that there’s a gaggle of GMs out there desperate to slash payroll at any cost is WILDLY overrated. Straight salary dumps are few and far between; even the Blazers/Clippers trade for Marcus Camby involved Travis Outlaw, who’s a severely underrated player.
They’re not going to give up their best players or contracts for our scraps. These rumors of stealing Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins from the Warriors or Kevin Martin from the Kings for Ray Allen straight-up are ridiculous: It’s gonna take a lot more than just Ray to get those players, or ones similar. But you best believe I’d be down for trading Tony Allen, Brian Scalabrine, and whatever the hell else the Kings want off the bench along with Ray to get K-Mart.
Now, I wouldn’t trade any of the other starters straight up for any of those guys, but history favors the bold, and if Danny wants to drastically change this team’s fortune (from probable contenders to a surefire Finals appearance), he’s got to at least be open to the idea of moving Rondo for say Ellis, Biedrins, Anthony Randolph, the Warriors Dance team and a unicorn that poops money and farts rainbows.
#2 – The Celtics need to make a deal that makes them younger right now, not necessarily better.
Upgrading this team is all about getting young legs. Young legs can still grow, learn and be sculpted to be talented ball players. Old guys like Ray Allen and Garnett aren’t going to magically get better. The bounce-back elasticity in their games (and more importantly, knees) is gone. What you see is what you get, and it’s only going to get worse as time goes on. Any dings and dents they get from now until the end of their careers are going to be omnipresent, they’re not going to heal or “pop out” magically over time.
So flipping Ray now while his value is at the highest (both in terms of his expiring contract status and overall game) he can ever hope of achieving again for some younger, less-talented guys makes the most sense. All this talk about the C’s needing to improve talent-wise in a trade involving Ray is hogwash. It’s not going to happen.
If they tread water when it comes to star power while getting a young guy who could blossom into a talented star down the road, it makes the most sense. If they stand pat, things can’t get better. Only worse, via a devastating (but ever-increasingly likely) injury or continually diminishing returns from the aging triumvirate of KG, PP, and Ray.
#3 – Ray Allen should be asking for a trade.
Now, hear me out. Let’s say they don’t trade Ray. He sticks on the squad, this year plays out, and no matter what happens in the playoffs, he’ll re-sign here for two or three years at a greatly reduced rate (I’d wager anywhere from 5-8 million per year.) By all accounts, he loves it here, his family’s here, and he ain’t leaving unless he’s told to.
But what happens if they trade Ray?
Let’s say they do the thing with the Bulls for Kirk Hinrich and Tyrus Thomas. Ray can either play out the season with the Bulls and then try to re-sign with the Bulls or the Celtics or even another team; or (best case scenario) reach a buyout with the team and return to the C’s in 30 days. Imagine if we got Hinrich & Thomas, and then got Ray back in time for the playoffs, too?
It’s the mother of all longshots, but why not try it? If they don’t do the buyout, Ray would almost definitely re-sign with the C’s in the offseason and depending how he did with his new team, he could ask for more money. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, after all. Hell, there are people who want to bring Ricky Davis back to Boston, now that the Clippers got rid of him. Which leads me to our next truth bomb…
#4 – Seriously. Stop it with the Ricky Davis talk. You stupid.
Ricky Davis?! C’mon. Those are the days of desperation and woe your romanticizing. Ricky Davis looks good on an awful team, and that’s what the C’s were back in the Ricky days. We didn’t have much to be happy about, so much in fact that we were talking ourselves into rooting for a team where Raef LaFrentz and Antoine Walker were the STARS and telling ourselves Justin Reed might just turn into something.
Oh, you don’t remember Justin Reed? I’d say google him, but trust me, you’re better off not digging up graves, even if they only hold terrible NBA careers. But I remember him, and I’d rather not think about anything or anyone from those dark years in Celtics fandom.
We would’ve been over the moon to have sniffed the playoffs back then. We’re past that, and that means we’re past Ricky Davis. That goes double for the rest of the newly minted Free Agent dregs being cast off and bought out. (I’m looking at you, Drew Gooden.) There’s a reason these guys are getting paid to NOT play for teams. No thanks.
#5 – Relax. The Cavs aren’t going to get Amar’e.
First off, he wants to go to Miami, and if Miami wants him, they’ll get him. They’ve got more to offer than the Cavs, they’re just playing it coy, because they know the ball is in their court here.
But even if he doesn’t end up in Miami, there’s no FREAKIN’ way Cleveland GM Danny Ferry has the cojones to pull the trigger on Stoudemire.
The Cavs don’t have to do a damn thing. They’ve won 13 in a row. They haven’t even gotten Mo Williams back from injury yet. Right now, they are everybody’s consensus pick to come out of the East, myself included, and you have no idea how much that hurts to even type.
In years past, Ferry has been notoriously hesitant to make a trade at the deadline. He’s always claimed to be confident in his roster, and decided against shaking things up because he thought he had been dealt a pretty good hand. Well, if he didn’t shake things up then, what do you think he’s going to do now? He’s going to stand pat, because he’s too scared that if he messes with it too much and they DON’T win the title, LeBron won’t be the only one hightailing it out of Cleveland like his life depended on it at the end of the season. They’ll make a minor move, maybe even grab Antawn Jamison from DC (who’s actually a much better and scarier fit), but trust me: Danny Ferry won’t pull the trigger on Amar’e.
As for the Celtics, I hope they’ll move Ray Allen plus whatever combination of bench guys and draft picks it takes to pry Kevin Martin away from the Kings, but who knows what’ll happen? I sure don’t. As long as Rondo, Perk, and Paul Pierce are still on this team as of Friday, I’ll be happy. Everyone else, I can rationalize being traded for one reason or another.
I actually hope they trade Brian Scalabrine (it would be the one meaningful contribution he’s made to this team since he got here), Tony Allen (Sayonara, Turnover-face!) and JR Giddens (He’s got more than a little Gerald Green in him).
With that said, I don’t want Antawn Jamison (too old with a bad contract), Kirk Hinrich (too moody/streaky) or Nate Robinson (I just plain don’t like his game) coming back in return, either. Danny’s going to do what he’s going to do, and I’ll worry about it then. Make no mistake, though: the next 24 hours could make or break the Celtics for years.
And if you don’t care about that, well… you wouldn’t be at the end of this post with this dumb hypothetical question, would you?
UPDATE!!! 2:15pm Wednesday: Word just broke on Twitter at that Nate Robinson’s the newest Celtic. Honestly, I hate the move at first glance. But I was also one of the guys sorry to see Al Jefferson go. Welcome to the Celtics, Nate. Please, by all means: prove me wrong.
Big Head Braden doesn’t work for the Sports Hub, but for Karlson & McKenzie on 100.7 WZLX. (Yeah, he thinks it’s weird, too.) You can read his other tepid and not-necessarily-Celtics-related musings over at coltmonday.com.