BOSTON – Training camp is in session for the Boston Celtics and decision time is coming up for Danny Ainge regarding his mismatched roster. With 16 guaranteed contracts signed for this year, one needs to be trimmed before the start of the year, via either trade or release.
In order to better understand what Ainge’s options will be if he elects to make a trade before the start of the year, we’ve decided to put together trade power rankings here at CBSBoston. You can catch the first two installments by heading to Part 1 or Part 2, but here are the rankings thus far.READ MORE: Green Line Trolley Driver Facing Charges For July Crash
16. Perry Jones
15. David Lee
14. Evan Turner
13. Jonas Jerebko
12. Terry Rozier
11. James Young
Before we get to part three of the list, here’s a quick refresher on the criteria:
Criteria: This isn’t simply ranking the best-to-worst players on the roster. There is significantly more that goes into a player’s trade value around the league than just talent (although that’s still usually a dominant factor). A player’s age, contract situation and injury history are all vital components considered in these rankings.
It’s an imperfect list, simply because there is so much overlapping and inexperienced talent on certain parts of the Celtics’ roster. Valid cases can and will be made that certain names should be higher and/or lower. Debate is welcomed here. With that said, let’s get to the third installment on the list (players 10-7).
10. Jordan Mickey
Contract situation: About $5 million over four years (first two years guaranteed)
The No. 33 overall pick showed plenty of potential during a standout Summer League performance and the team rewarded him with the biggest contract for a second-round pick in NBA history. In the interim, Mickey’s value to the team will be limited, due to a glut of players ahead of him in the frontcourt, but there’s no denying the team sees long-term potential in the 6-foot-8 LSU star.
Mickey’s four-year contract worth around the $5 million mark will end up looking like a steal if he backs up his strong summer and breaks into Brad Stevens’ rotation. For now, like the rest of the Celtics rookies, he’s one among a young core with plenty of upside but no proven track record.READ MORE: CDC Advisers Recommend Who Can Get Booster Shots Of Pfizer's COVID-19 Vaccine
9. R.J. Hunter
Contract situation: Rookie scale contract (four years, roughly $6 million, with team options for final two years)
Despite being taken five spots ahead of Mickey in the 2015 NBA Draft, the sharpshooting guard out of Georgia State will make a little bit less than Mickey in his first two seasons due to his late draft slot in the first round. After a rough start to Summer League in Utah, Hunter found his rhythm and proved to be a capable scorer from the NBA perimeter, as he was in college.
Reliable shooting is an increasingly valuable skill in the NBA these days, so Hunter’s potential on that front jumps him ahead of the other rookies on this list. Still, the 6-foot-5 guard needs to put on some muscle in order to hold his own on both ends on the pro level. Unless he has a standout training camp, look for him to get some seasoning in the D-League.
8. Jared Sullinger
Experience: 3 years
Contract situation: Final year of rookie deal, earning $2.27 million. Will be restricted free agent after season, if team does not sign him to extension.
2014-15 Stats: 13.3 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 2.3 APG, 27.0 MPG
If Ainge is going to make a trade this preseason, Sullinger is a candidate he should consider. Unfortunately, the trade value of the former Ohio State star is relatively low right now, thanks to a 2014-15 season that was beset by injury and conditioning issues.
From a talent perspective, Ainge has no real incentive to give up on the big man, who is heading into a contract year. When he’s on his game, Sullinger is one of the best bigs this team has. Still, teams aren’t going to give up much for a guy that wants a big raise next summer and hasn’t proven he can stay healthy yet. There’s a logjam in the frontcourt though, and some team might want to take a gamble on him.
The smart money is on that team being the Celtics for the time being, as Boston wants to know if he has fixed his weight issues after working out with John Lucas all summer. If Ainge does not want to keep him long-term anyway, he could be one to go.MORE NEWS: Salem Haunted Tour Is Most Booked Experience Of Fall, According To Tripadvisor
Brian Robb covers the Celtics for CBS Boston and contributes to NBA.com, among other media outlets. You can follow him on Twitter @CelticsHub.