UnMuzzled: No Move a Mistake for Celts?
The NBA trade deadline came and went and per usual basketball fans waited all day for a major trade that never happened. We saw a tiny cluster of small level players who will soon be relocating, but most moves were salary dumps or minor tweaks.
Before we see what the rest of the league was up to on Thursday lets go over the moves the Celtics made.
Oh that’s right, they didn’t do anything.
After trading away Courtney Lee and Jordan Crawford last month it seemed like Boston was entering complete “blow it up mode,” but instead they stood pat yesterday, leaving them with a few atrocious contracts and at least two players that could’ve been valuable trade pieces. Let’s dive into this a little bit.
First, if you believe the Celtics should’ve traded Gerald Wallace you have the same opinion as literally everyone that ever existed, but it’s not that easy. Wallace has two years remaining on his contract after this season for a total of just over $20 million.
To give you an idea of how awful that is, basketball guru Bill Simmons ranked Wallace’s contract the second worst in the NBA. In other words trying to trade his contract would’ve been like trying to sell snow to an Eskimo, it wasn’t gonna’ happen
Then there’s Jeff Green and Kris Humphries. Green, perhaps the Celtics best player right now (yikes) could have been a great addition to many teams but, like Wallace, his contract makes it tough. Green will also make about $20 million over the next few seasons so the number of teams that could’ve been interested in him would’ve been small. Most teams that could actually use Green right now don’t have the salary cap space to trade for him.
The only way the Celtics could have gotten rid of him would have been to totally dump him for next to nothing which they wouldn't do. Humphries on the other hand has a contract that expires at the end of the year, something that teams love. I was surprised that I didn’t hear his name thrown around more in rumors.
Personally I’m happy, I think he’s been one of the brightest points this season for Boston and I’d love to see him in green next season.
Where I’m left scratching my head is Brandon Bass. Next year is the last year on his contract and he’s set to make $7 million. For a very athletic player who can play power forward or center and has experience both starting and coming off the bench that is a very manageable salary. There a several teams in “win now” mode that would’ve benefited from adding a player like Bass and I can’t imagine it would’ve taken a great deal to do so.
If I’m Danny Ainge, a 1st round draft pick and an expiring contract and any contender would’ve been plenty and I find it hard to imagine none of the top-tier teams explored this option.
By not trading anyone the Celtics put themselves in a weird spot. Dale Duff hates to hear this but they should be LOSING games right now. Finishing with the 7th worst record in the NBA is a terrible place to be. If they’re really thinking about the future they should’ve dealt away their valuable trade assets now which also would’ve helped them lose games. Sorry basketball purists, it’s true.
Now let’s look elsewhere to see how the trade deadline played out for the rest of the league.
Winner: The Philadelphia 76ers. In total, Philly traded away Spencer Hawes, Evan Turner, Levoy Allen, and a second round pick for four second-round picks, Earl Clark (expiring $4.25 million), Eric Maynor, and Danny Granger (expiring $14 million). This is most definitely a win for the Sixers seeing as how they are in full on tank mode. None of the players they traded are who they plan to build around and now they have SEVEN picks coming up in this year’s draft. This is tanking 101 and Philadelphia is all in.
Loser: This one is tough, I’d say there were a few. The Thunder got beaten down last night by Miami, showing again that even having Kevin Durant is probably not enough to make it to the top. They’ve got the financial flexibility where they could’ve taken a chance, instead they stood pat and now will have to hope that the same team that lost to the Heat by 20 last night can muster up something better come playoff time. It was also a bad day for the New York Knicks, as no matter what packages they tried to put together they wound up accomplishing none of their goals. The problem for them is they have no real assets to bargain with. Now New York fans get to enjoy the remainder of a once promising season that wound up being a total flop.
Most intriguing: Arguably the best team in the league, the Indiana Pacers, made perhaps the day’s biggest trade when they sent Danny Granger to the 76ers for Evan Turner and Levoy Allen. Turner and Allen should be ecstatic, they now have a chance at a championship, but does could this upset the flow in Indiana? They already had the league’s best team, why did the feel the need to tinker with things? However, I’m not one to doubt Larry Bird and I personally think this could be huge for the Pacers. If Turner and Andrew Bynum can get comfortable coming off the bench than Indiana is going to be incredibly tough to beat down the stretch.
What’d you think about the trade deadline?