Piggybacking off of the morning dump post earlier (wait, that just sounds wrong on so many levels) I posed a simple, yet loaded question to Celtics fans on Twitter: Would you include Ray Allen in a trade for Josh Smith? The answers flew in as fast and furious as a Josh Smith fast break dunk, but unlike the results of his dunks, these were hardly definitive.
The genesis of this debate came from Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowskiwho is one of the best in the NBA reporting business. So if he says Smith has interest in being a Celtic, well the green radar starts getting a few more blips on the screen. There are a few things at play here but none bigger than the uncertainty of the new collective bargaining agreement. So while we all argue and speculate, this trade scenario is based on the assumption that most of the trading rules will remain unchanged when the new CBA is agreed upon.
So would you do it? Would you drop that bomb on the core of the New Big Three Era that brought about a green Reniessance to Boston? Remember, Danny Ainge has always said how he told Red Auerbach that he should have traded away one or more members of the original Big Three during the late 80's. Now it appears he has his chance to make history… or simply replicate it.
Here is the breakdown of responses:
- Yes – 10 votes (25.6%)
- No – 27 votes (69.2%)
- Undecided – 2 votes (5.1%)
While the majority of Celtics fans want to hold on to Ray Allen, some of the responses were interesting. Most of the "No" responses were pretty firm and several "Yes" votes were coupled with uncertainty. Here were some of the responses:
Many of you preferred to ship Jeff Green and/or Glen Davis instead of Ray Allen. While that would be ideal, it's not feasible under the current CBA rules without possibly including other players or perhaps a third team. Either way, the majority of you prefer to hold on to Ray Allen. Thinking short and long term that is probably the best way to go.
Think of it this way: Do you feel without trading any of the core four (Rondo, Pierce, KG, Ray) that the Celtics have a legit shot of winning banner #18 by making small moves here and there to fill the voids on the roster? If the answer is yes, then you absolutely hold on to Ray. Because really, the only goal is to raise a banner, right? So if you feel that this one final run THIS season is the BEST chance, then don't trade him.
But, (there's always a but) the Celtics traditionally aren't a big free agent destination spot. Typically, they've built champions through trades and the draft. Danny Ainge has remained steadfast about maintaining cap flexibility for next summer, with the hope of signing Dwight Howard, or a combination of players. Trading for Smith would certainly eliminate their flexibility, especially if the new cap number goes down even lower. In this instance you'd have to be convinced that a Rondo/Smith/Green core would be the future, barring any other major moves.
Ainge doesn't have many vices and to him, having root beer float parties in college qualifies as a great time. But his one vice is gambling as an NBA GM. He's told stories about suggesting to Red Auerbach to trade the original Big Three back in the late 1980's during their decline. He's traded fan (and team) favorite Kendrick Perkins in the middle of a title contending season. He traded Antoine Walker at the height of his popularity, then traded back for him. He traded just about all of his assets for Kevin Garnett, and a lot of people might not remember now but there was a large group of C's fans that hated that deal.
He's even admitted as much to dangling Ray during the 2010 February trade deadline but ultimately decided against it. The point is, he's equally fearless and numb to what outsiders (and insiders) will think. In his mind, his justification is always that of helping the team's incessant goal of winning a title.
Josh Smith is an intriguing player for many reasons. He'd be perfect running the floor with Rondo. His defense is solid for a young player. But Ray's value on this team, a championship contending team for one more year, cannot be understated. He's been option #1 so often in close games during this four year run, especially in the playoffs. Usually, when he's had a great shooting game, the Celtics have won. He may be old in age, but to me, he didn't look anything close to his age.
My vote for this is no, mainly because the Celtics are still viable contenders for one more year with a few tweaks here and there. Really, isn't that the goal? Trading him for Smith would most likely take them down a notch, but if we're getting crazy then maybe Ainge is considering Smith as a possible asset to flip to Orlando for Dwight Howard? If it's just Ray for Smith and keeping him long term, I'd prefer to keep Ray for one more year.