Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
The Celtics are wheeling and dealing at an absurd rate in advance of the Feb. 19 trade deadline while trying to both add to their collection of future draft picks and clear future salary in order to have maximum flexibility moving forward.
Boston is now about $11.5 million below the tax line, giving the team the ability to take on salary before the trade deadline and possibly bring back more draft picks in the process.
There are still a few i’s to be dotted and t’s to be crossed, but all indications are that recently acquired Austin Rivers will wind up playing for the Los Angeles Clippers coached by his father, Doc Rivers.
The Boston Celtics were initially seeking a second round pick which they will get from the Clippers, but a third team is expected to be involved which could potentially net Boston additional assets.
When Boston deals Austin Rivers, it’ll be their 9th trade since draft night. Only 6 of the 15 current Celtics were on the roster in April.
— Sean Grande (@SeanGrandePBP) January 14, 2015
Danny Ainge is chipping away at his roster like a sculptor chipping away at a block of wood. Right now, all we see is a bunch of shavings on the on floor and big mangled tree trunk on a stand, but eventually it will look like a real team. What we have to hope for is that the finished product is a work of art Austin Rivers will likely be traded… maybe even today. Brandon Bass and Marcus Thornton are waiting in the wings, and the trade deadline is just over a month away. They will likely go, bringing back even more draft picks, and opening even more room for young talent to be brought in an evaluated. What Danny Ainge has done is position his like a poker player with the biggest stack at the table. He’s not only got potentially 11 first round picks over the next four years (plus a lot more high second-rounders), he’s got more than $30 million in cap space, and six different trade exceptions with which to acquire a player without sending out any salary. Here’s the breakdown according to Basketball Insiders:
- Trade Exception (Kris Humphries, expiring 7/19/15) — $1,334,092
- Trade Exception (Keith Bogans, expiring 9/25/15) — $285,816
- Trade Exception (Joel Anthony, expiring 10/19/15) — $152,757
- Trade Exception (Rajon Rondo, expiring 12/18/15) — $12,909,090
- Trade Exception (Brandan Wright, expiring 1/9/16) — $5,000,000
- Estimated Trade Exception (Jameer Nelson, expiring 1/13/16) — $625,280
Some of those might expire, like many of exceptions do. But the Rondo and Wright exceptions will be especially useful, and maybe even soon as the Celtics can now help take a big expiring contract off someone’s hands if they’re trying to avoid a big tax bill… and are willing to pay a premium of draft picks to make that happen. But just like any poker game, you can be the big stack and lose. You can miscalculate something, over-value something, or just flat-out have bad luck and blow all your chips. Just because Ainge HAS all these assets doesn’t guarantee he’ll flip them into that big veteran star or college stud that will get the Celtics banner 18 in this decade. But it does give him a hell of a chance, and that’s really all we can ask for at this point.
Related links: Globe: C’s trading Jameer Nelson | CSNNE: Celtics to trade Nelson for Robinson | Celtics to negotiate buyout of Prince | Building through the draft the right move? | Ryan: Celtics placing emphasis on “kids” | ESPN: Trader Danny’s roster overhaul | Nelson, Robinson traded | Boston.com: Report: Celtics to trade Rivers to Clippers | MassLive: Rumors: Rivers to Clippers as soon as Celtics can clear space for two expiring contracts
Page 2: The Cleveland Cavaliers are a below .500
LeBron James rejoined the Cavaliers and brought a lot of excitement with him. Just not quite enough for a Cleveland victory. James scored 33 points in his return from a two-week layoff but couldn’t prevent the Cavaliers from going down to their sixth straight loss, 107-100 to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night.
ESPN The Cavs are 19-20. The Celtics are 13-23… just 3 behind in the loss column. Last night Kevin Love sat the entire 4th quarter, which can’t make him feel good about his decision to go to Cleveland. And then this LeBron pushing coach David Blatt out of the way is sure to dump gasoline on the fire.
That’s one of those things that’s nothing, but if it had happened here in Boston, it’d cause a firestorm of lunacy.
The bottom line: The Cavaliers are a mess… for now. For the multitudes of LeBron haters, savor the flavor right now. Yes, the Cavs have had injuries to deal with, but they should be better than this. Eventually, they probably will be. But if you’re looking to have some fun, this is the time to have it.
— Robby Kalland (@RKalland) January 14, 2015
A dog dressed in Celtics gear. Well, it’s my dog in Celtics gear… because sometimes, in the throes of a rough season, you just need to see a dog in Celtics gear.
The rest of the links:
Herald: Remade C’s turn it up a notch | CSNNE: Along with health, Smart’s shot has improved | ESPN Boston: Driving school: Smart the bulldozer? | WEEI: Smart talks about improved jump shot | MassLive: Smart learning the art of shot selection | Stevens on improving defense: We’re really focused on it