The next 16 days or so are going to bring a cacophony of trade rumors that will slowly bore a hole into my brain, rendering me a complete vegetable by the time it's over. And I know that everyone wants to hop on the trade machine and throw "this works!" trades out there that make little to no sense. So I decided to put a little guide together for every Celtics starter's trade value so you can understand what we can realistically expect in any potential trade scenario. Here's a meter with pretty colors…
- No Thanks = Sorry, Danny Ainge, I have no interest in this player
- We're Listening = Ok Danny, I wasn't going to go after this guy, but let's see what you want in return
- Here's Our Offer = Hey Danny, I'm interested in getting this guy from you, let's see if we can find a deal
- GOTTA HAVE HIM! = Just about everyone on the roster is available, let's figure out what we can get for this guy.
With that in mind, here's where I believe our starters' value realistically stands.
Why there? Because the knocks on Rondo are what they are. And with reports that he may or may not have worn out his welcome in Boston, Rajon isn't in the "gotta have him" category. Those reports only make teams want to low-ball the Celtics in hopes of taking advantage of a frustrated Ainge and getting Rondo on the cheap Rondo exists in this weird place trade-wise. He makes $11 million this year and he's made three-straight All Star games, so the market dictates that the's worth more. How much more? There's the rub.
Rondo's ceiling is perennial All Star, franchise point guard, walking triple double machine. Rondo's floor is moody malcontent that will gamble to pad stats and go off on point-proving tangents. Because of the ceiling, Danny Ainge will ask for ceiling-worthy return. Because of the floor, teams may try to look elsewhere for better options.
Personal opinions aside, Rondo is a trade asset, but not of the Chris Paul "I gotta have him" variety. That will more likely than not keep Rondo here so he can either (a) realize his full potential or (b) regain enough trade value that someone bites on him in the offseason or beyond.
Why there? Because he's still a great shooter, the ultimate professional, and his $10 million contract is not only palatable in price, it ends after this season.
But temper your expectations on a Ray Allen trade. He's probably the most attractive player on the roster for a reason beyond that first sentence. He's attractive because other GM's think they can get him without giving up TOO much. And he's only attractive to contenders who need one more piece to the puzzle.
So what can you expect IF Ray is traded? Even IF you get a 1st round pick, it'll be at the end of the draft because a great team would want him. And would you really want Mo Williams in return for Ray? Because that's the type of player you're looking at.
Why there? Because Paul Pierce hasn't looked particularly great lately, but he can still create his own shot and hit clutch jumpers. However, he's owed $32 million over the next two years, which means you'd have to give up a lot to get him.
It's possible a bad team might look to Pierce as a veteran leader to help the young guys progress. So those teams will probably listen to Danny Ainge if he were to call. But Danny would have to be willing to take a bad contract in return. Now you're looking at Paul Pierce to Charlotte for Corey Maggette, filler, and a pick (that's not a rumor or a deal I advocate… just an example of what I think is the best offer Danny could get for Pierce.) And that pick isn't necessarily for this year's draft. Or you might have to get a third team involved… and that's just a mess.
Why there? Because he makes $6.2 million in a deal that expires this year. That's it. That's the only reason to listen to an offer that includes Jermaine O'Neal. He can be used as filler with someone else (you keep hearing him tagged to Rajon Rondo rumors) for a tax paying team desperate to shed some salary for next season. There are no straight-up deals for Jermaine out there.
Why there? Because he makes $21 million this year and there's no way you can properly match salaries and get the right value for KG. And don't get pipe dreams of a team trying do ditch a big-salary guy in an effort to go after Dwight Howard. New York is not going to jettison Carmelo Anthony to clear salary for Dwight (and yes, I've had that pitched to me before).
These values are lower than some of you might expect them to be. I'm sorry about that. But these, I believe, are a more accurate reflection of where the Celtics stand in the overall scheme of NBA trade value. There are rules for trading players that involve the matching of salaries. Before making any proposals in the comments, go here and read those rules.
And remember this: picks don't count as trade value. You can't trade Ray Allen for a $6 million player and a #1 pick and say "hey, a lottery pick will make about $2 or $3 million so that should count." It doesn't.
So if you wonder why I, and many others, downplay the "blow it up" mentality… it's because of all this. The Celtics can get rid of all of their starters if they want, but they'd be stuck with sub-par players, bloated salaries, or almost worthless picks. With guys like Allen, Garnett, O'Neal and others coming off the books next season, it's more prudent to wait things out and see what the offseason brings.
Just because the trade deadline is March 15, it doesn't mean teams are required to make deal on or before then. The Celtics may just be better off waiting for free agency to play out… see who they can get… and then try the trade route after teams miss out on targets and get desperate to make another move.
Trades out of frustration are usually bad moves. Sometimes you have to just sit and wait… maybe longer than you'd like… for the right opportunity to strike.