Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
One of the obstacles in the way of the Celtics getting more things done is the fact they were looking at so many different types of deals, for now and for the future. Where, for example, Atlanta was mainly focused on seeing what it could fetch for Josh Smith, the C’s were said to be extremely busy talking about many of their players.
“You know what? I think that a lot of teams find themselves in that position,” said Ainge. “You know, I’m trying to make our team better. That was my objective, but when other alternatives come before you, you have to look at all alternatives. So there was a time that I was talking about almost all the players, just trying to figure out value and what my options were. There was a lot of that that went on at this trade deadline.”
[...] This time, Ainge was serving many masters.
“It was different,” he said. “Sometimes you go in with a specific purpose, and we did have some target guys that we like that we were willing to give up draft picks for and some other things. But we didn’t want to sell the farm to throw everything in right now. We didn’t want to trade Jared Sullinger or Avery (Bradley), who are big parts of our future. We didn’t want to trade draft picks down the road. We wanted to keep some future assets, but at the same time, we did want to upgrade. What it came down to is that there were only a few guys we were willing to do that for, and in the end we just couldn’t make it happen.”
Danny Ainge was in a tough position this deadline. He had pressure coming from at least three different sides:
Side 1: Stand pat and let Garnett and Pierce play out their days here
This has merit from the sentimental side, for sure. KG, as noted earlier in that linked article, was approached by Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups, but he didn’t give either of them any indication that he wanted to waive his no-trade clause… which fans will love to hear. The thought of Pierce finishing his career somewhere else is less than appetizing. But there is financial merit to letting these guys walk and roll the dice with the financial flexibility it may provide. Trading one or both of them ties up the cap space their departures would free up (not to mention getting the C’s under the tax line). So I’m sure there’s pressure not just from the fan base to keep our sentimental leaders, but from areas within the organization who say “if you can’t deal them for something great, then don’t handcuff us down the road.”
Side 2: Get what you can for Garnett and Pierce while you can
I can also certainly see this side. Trade deadlines are made for trading aging stars. Playoff teams feeling like they need one more piece to become championship material generally covet these pieces. It’s what we saw with the Clippers and Garnett. But for various reasons, the Clippers cooled on the idea. Maybe part of it was uncertainty after KG’s public “I bleed green, I’ll die green” stance. Maybe some of it was the widely reported reluctance to give up 20-something year-old pieces for a 36 year-old Garnett.
Some say, at that point, you turn to other teams and start shopping KG aggressively in hopes of getting future assets to help this team. If this is you, then I hate to inform you that you’re living in the past. And that’s because of this:
Side 3: The new CBA completely changed the trade deadline
For this, I cede the floor to Ken Berger.
This is how business is done now in the NBA. No blockbuster trades in February. Few, if any teams are willing to absorb future salary, which would clog up their books and restrict access to tools needed to improve their rosters. Nobody is willing to give up draft picks as incentive to move a contract or rent a player for the stretch run. No more Monopoly money.
What Stern, Hunter, Adam Silver and the rest accomplished two summers ago became as clear as daylight Thursday. They turned the NBA into the NFL — the No Fun League — when it comes to the trades and in-season player movement. No more stars forcing trades to the markets of their choosing with the reward of max dollars forming the cherry on top.
“This is a pure CBA deadline,” one general manager said Thursday after the dust settled. “If you can’t get a first for J.J. Redick, this is a different world. That guy is a surefire lock to garner a first round pick in the past.”
If the old CBA existed this year, then this morning we might be writing our eulogies for Kevin Garnett’s Celtics career… and maybe Pierce’s too. But it’s become abundantly clear that the dirtiest words in the NBA have become “repeater tax”… and that no one wants to touch that vile thing if they can avoid it.
So the game has changed. And the Celtics are not going to go just hand KG over to someone for less than his actual value (whatever Danny has determined that to be) because they don’t just want to add anyone in a “gotta get something for him” trade. Because the, say two $5 million guys you get could cost you a lot more if you’re taking back longer term contracts tat keep you over the tax threshold too long.
I know, it’s stupid business bullshit. It’s easier for all of us to live in a fantasy basketball vacuum and scream “ahh, we’re toast, blow it up.” But the reality is that it’s just not that easy. The business side of it is more important than ever. And maybe Danny had too many options to really focus on one path, but maybe that’s because the way business is done nowadays, teams in the Celtics position can’t overly focus on one thing and get some dumb sap of a GM to play along anymore.
The rest of the links:
CSNNE: 15 things to know about Jordan Crawford | Crawford will get a taste of discipline, winning, with C’s | ESPN Boston: Celtics carry on as planned | Rivers on Crawford: I know he can score | Collins on Boston: I enjoyed every minute | Video: Why no shakeup for C’s | WEEI: What Crawford means to Celtics | Donny Marshall: Josh Smith has no position, no shot selection | Globe: Celtics acquire Crawford from Wizards | Doc talks about Crawford | Collins on his time in Boston: I enjoyed every minute of it | Herald: The Crawford file | Sudden exit leaves Collins sad | Celtics catch Crawford | Washington Post: Grunfeld on Crawford