By Brian Robb, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics are now in week two of the preseason and have 20 players in camp with 16 of them having a realistic chance of making the team’s final 15-man roster. That competitive roster crunch signals Danny Ainge still has work to do ahead of opening night on Oct. 26.
Ainge has a lot of options at his disposal to get to his final 15, but the excess personnel will increase the odds of a trade in the coming weeks. Whether it’s a minor deal to clear up some necessary roster space or a major move to help Boston land another star to pair with Al Horford and Isaiah Thomas, don’t expect the rumors to go away anytime soon.
To sort through it all, we will be counting down the trade value of each player on the roster during the next few weeks for the 2016 Celtics trade value power rankings. We started the list last week by counting down players ranked from 16-13, and we’ll take a look at Nos. 12-10 in part two of the rankings.
Criteria reminder: 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 important). A player’s age, contract situation and injury history are all vital factors considered in these rankings.
It’s an imperfect list, simply because there is so much overlapping talent levels for various 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.
16. James Young
15. R.J. Hunter
14. Demetrius Jackson
13. Jordan Mickey
Let’s get to Part 2
12. Gerald Green
Remaining contract: One year, league minimum
2015-16 stats: 8.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 0.8 apg, (69 games)
Overview: The seasoned veteran returns for his second NBA stint in Boston on a bargain league minimum deal. A contract that cheap would obviously be easy for Ainge to deal (even though Green isn’t eligible to be dealt until Dec. 15 anyway per the league’s CBA rules). However, while Green may been able to make a little more money elsewhere, there’s a reason he’s only earning a couple millions dollars this season: He’s a 30-year-old flawed player. With limited upside at this stage of his career, the Celtics are hoping the swingman will turn into the bench sparkplug that averaged over 15 points per game for the Suns in 2013-14. If Green can recapture that magic, he’ll be more than a throw-in in any potential deal. Until then, he’s an inconsistent role player that shot 39 percent from the field last year.
11. Tyler Zeller
Remaining contract: Two years, $16 million (second year non-guaranteed)
2015-16 stats: 6.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 0.5 apg, (60 games)
Overview: With the choice of bringing back Sullinger and Zeller last season, Ainge opted for the big man with the higher floor but probably also a lower ceiling. Zeller is overpaid at $8 million per year based on his production last season but he was also in and out of the rotation all year long. He should be able to prove his worth more this year, especially if Kelly Olynyk is sidelined for the start of the regular season. Still, the big man’s limitations (shot range, guarding down a position) make him the kind of big that’s relatively easy to find around the league. Outside of a non-guaranteed second year of his contract that could be used as salary filler in a trade next summer, Zeller won’t fetch much, if anything, in a deal.
10. Terry Rozier
Remaining contract: Three years, $7 million (final two years are team options)
2015-16 stats: 1.8 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 0.9 apg, (39 games)
Overview: After the training camp and summer league Rozier has had, this ranking feels a little low. Still, you have to keep in mind that this list is more representative of how the league would value these Celtics, not Ainge’s own assessment of them. For now, Rozier is a second-year player that didn’t make an impact during his rookie season. He’s on an attractive deal for cheap money the next three seasons and clearly has untapped potential but he’s not going to fetch Ainge much until he proves his offseason gains are legitimate. A strong preseason will help in that department but reliable play behind Isaiah Thomas at the point guard spot is needed to match the hype and push him further up this list.
Brian Robb covers the Celtics for CBS Boston and contributes to NBA.com, among other media outlets. You can follow him on Twitter @CelticsHub.