BOSTON (CBS) — The NBA trade deadline is one week away, and it should come as no surprise that the Boston Celtics figure to be one of the busiest teams before the clock hits 3 p.m. on February 20.
So don’t go rushing out to buy a Celtics jersey just yet. If you do, you probably want to invest in one without a name on the back.
The Celtics are 19-36 and currently have the sixth-worst record in the NBA. Danny Ainge is building for the future, looking to gather as many assets as he can as he tries to build Boston back up to a title contender, and he will be looking to bring home a few more of those “chips” ahead of next week’s deadline.
In a situation like the Celtics, no one is really safe from receiving a phone call on Thursday afternoon telling them they’ll soon be wearing a new jersey in a new city. A number of players could have played their final game in Boston on Wednesday night, so let’s take a look at who could find themselves in a different uniform come next week.
2013-14 Salary: $6.75 million (signed for 2014-15 at $6.95 million)
2013-14 Stats: 10.8 points per game, 5.8 rebounds per game
Bass’ name has been mentioned in numerous rumors the last few weeks, with many contenders looking at him to help in the paint. Bass has playoff experience and a manageable contract past this season, making him the most likely of Celtics to be dealt before the deadline.
The Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors and Charlotte Bobcats are all said to be interested in Bass, and the Suns and Bobcats have a slew of draft picks to entice Ainge with. If Charlotte really wants to make the playoffs (they’re the eighth seed in the East, six games under .500) they could offer up Ben Gordon’s expiring $12 million contract and a pick for Bass, but in a week they could just as easily be back in the race for the basement. So that makes the Suns, who could have up to four first round picks in this year’s draft, the likeliest destination for Bass.
Most teams are waiting on a the availability of a few marquee big men, mostly Los Angeles’ Pau Gasol, so a Bass deal likely won’t happen until right before the deadline.
2013-14 Salary: $8.7 million (signed for 2014-15 at $9.2 million, with player option for 2015-16)
2013-14 Stats: 16.4 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 42% shooting
Green’s salary and consistently inconsistent play make him a little less likely to get traded, but if Ainge is shopping him hard (as reports have said), he may be willing to take a discounted deal to shed the forward’s contract.
Green has made a remarkable comeback from heart surgery nearly two years ago, but has yet to step forward as the go-to guy Ainge was hoping he acquired when he traded Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City at the 2011 deadline. The 27-year-old has shown he can light up the scoreboard on any given night, but for every 35 point game there are a handful of 2-for-11, 5-point showings.
The Atlanta Hawks were said to be making a push for Green, and there could be other teams out there looking for a talented scorer off the bench for a playoff push. If Green does make it past the deadline though, look for Ainge to make an even harder push to trade Green in the off-season.
2013-14 Salary: $5,058,198
2013-14 Stats: 2.0 PPG in six games played
Bogans was excused from the team last month after the veteran became disgruntled about his lack of playing time. Teams won’t be looking at him for his ability on the court, but his $5 million contract. It’s non-guaranteed after this season making Bogans an easy cut for 2014-15. His salary can be added to any deal Ainge wants to pull off to match up salaries, or could be more money off the books come this summer.
2013-14 Salary: $12 million
2013-14 Stats: 7.6 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 19.1 minutes per game
Humphries’ expiring deal makes him a commodity for other teams, and his energetic play off the Boston bench will help his stock at the deadline. The 10-year veteran has been a professional during his brief stint in Boston despite sporadic playing time, and when he has been on the court he’s hustled and given Boston a good spark.
Now, Ainge will have to decide what is worth more: whatever he can get for Humphries or his $12 million contract coming off the books over the summer.
2013-14 Salary: $2.511 million (restricted free agent after season)
2013-14 Stats: 14.3 PPG, 3.9 RPG
Bradley will be a restricted free agent this summer and could command up to $7-$8 million annually (the Celtics would be able to match any offer he gets), which is a lot of a 5-2 shooting guard. But Bradley continues to shine on the defensive end and has taken his offensive game to a new level this season, so this is a tricky one for Ainge.
It’s hard to imagine any team giving up a big bounty for a potential two-and-a-half month rental, but if Ainge gets a very good offer (and isn’t confident he can re-sign Bradley to a good deal over the summer), Bradley could be heading elsewhere. He is not with the Celtics on their current West Coast trip, nursing his second ankle injury of the season.
2013-14 Salary: $10,105,855 (signed for two more years at same salary)
2013-14 Stats: 4.8 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 51% shooting
The veteran has been vocal about the team not being very good and has let his displeasure with his lack of playing time be known multiple times, and on top of that is owed another $20 million over the next two years following this season.
But, when he is on the floor Wallace has a knack for making things happen. He’s shown that he can make the perfect inbound pass, whether it be at the end of a quarter or at the end of a game, and it’s clear why he earned the nickname of “Crash” every time he dives for a loose ball.
Wallace wants to be on a contender, but the only way he’ll find his way onto one is if he’s a throw-in for salaries to match (basically how he ended up in Boston). If Ainge has something big in the works, Wallace could be a part of it. But if he wants to trim Wallace’s contract in a smaller deal, it will likely take one of the Celtics first round picks.
In other words, it isn’t happening.
2013-14 Salary: $12 million (signed for 2014-15 at $13 million)
2013-14 Stats: 9.8 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 7.1 assists per game
Ainge has stressed throughout the season that he has no interest in trading Rondo, repeating again and again that Rondo is a building block for the future. Most of the time, that usually means a player should start packing, but this time, it looks Ainge actually means it.
At least for now.
Rondo is still making his way back from ACL surgery and gets the occasional game off, but he’s shown flashes of the “Rondo of old” with performances like his 15 points, 12 assist, eight rebound game against the Mavericks last week. Plenty of teams will be making phone calls regarding Rondo, but chances are entertaining playmaker won’t be traded ahead of the deadline unless a team really knocks Danny’s socks off with an offer.
But because Rondo sticks around the rest of the season doesn’t mean other teams (and even Ainge) won’t open up the talks during the off-season, especially prior to the draft. That’s when the Celtics would likely get the most for the point guard, if that’s the route they choose to go down.
Ainge is making it seem like he wants to build with Rondo, and will find All Star players the magician on the hardwood can toss those highlight passes to within the next few seasons. We’ll find out on Thursday if that was just another one of “Trader Danny’s” games.
2013-14 Salary: $1.365 million (signed through 2016-17 on rookie contract)
2013-14 Stats: 13.2 PPG, 8.2 RPG
In just his sophomore season, Sullinger is breaking out for the Celtics. He’s played out of position, holding his own against bigger opponents, and battled through an assortment of dings and bruises, but he’s still made a habit of putting up monster numbers night-in and night-out. He recently had a stretch of six straight double-doubles, averaging 19.8 points and 12.8 rebounds, which was broken up in Wednesday night’s loss to the Spurs.
Brian Robb detailed why Sullinger is a building block rather than a trade piece earlier this week. Don’t expect Sully to be going anywhere anytime soon, unless it’s a real blockbuster of a trade.
2013-14 Salary: $1.986 million (signed through 2017-18 on rookie contract)
2013-14 Stats: 6.9 PPG, 4.7 RPG
It would be hard to imagine Ainge trading away last year’s first round pick just 4 1/2 months into his career. The Celtics are looking for young and cheap talent right now, and they’ll take the next few months to decide if Olynyk is a part of the future or one of those potential chips.
Olynyk could be traded at some point in the coming years, but it likely won’t come at the deadline.
But, again, any player could be, and likely is, available given the Celtics’ rebuilding situation. If there is one thing about Ainge, he isn’t afraid to turn into “Trader Danny” at any given moment and spring a blockbuster (no one saw the Perkins deal coming in 2011), and he isn’t afraid to trade anyone (Antoine Walker in 2003, Perkins and Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce are just a few examples).
The Celtics could go wholesale at the deadline, or they could stand still and make a minor move or two. Whatever they decide to do, count on Ainge doing whatever he feels is best for the future of the Boston Celtics.
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