Written by Brian Jones
Twitter – @JonesyNBA
The rumor mill was crazy but none of those rumors happened. Just like last year. It would have been interesting to see the Celtics get somebody that could help this team make a playoff run but I am happy they didn’t decide to sacrifice their future to make the team better in the short term. Danny Ainge will never give in to the pressure put on him by some extremely outspoken fans and local media personalities.
This team was reportedly in the hunt for half of the NBA. Players such as: Cousins, George, Butler, Anthony, Griffin, Bogut, Faried, Chandler, Tucker, Noel, Okafor, and practically everybody else in the league were in a rumor to join the Celtics. None of that happened and we as fans should have known. Please excuse me while I rant in this next paragraph.
The trade deadline has been used as a way for “insiders” to come up with exciting rumors to gain a bigger following for years now. Any of us could have a picture of ourselves in a suit with an NBA logo in the background as our Twitter avatar and call ourselves insiders. It’s a genius idea because they know fans like us are addicted to the rumors and will turn on their tweet notifications and just wait for something to happen. But nothing ever happens. They just tweet links to their podcasts and Facebook Live shows to get more views. Then when the views go down they create another rumor. And guess what is happening now that the deadline is over? They are all going on TV to talk about why deals that were probably never even real didn’t happen. They’re taking advantage of fans like us every year and we just keep on falling for it. Let’s be smarter next year.
Ok, so now that I got that off my chest let’s take a look at how the Celtics stand now.
The consensus around the league is that the Celtics are a good team with a long way to go until they are serious contenders. The two obvious holes in this roster that everyone likes to point out are: they suck at rebounding and Isaiah is the only go to scorer. They are still at least two players away from contending for a championship.
Luckily for us, they can get that through the draft and free agency without having to sacrifice any of their core six of Thomas, Horford, Bradley, Crowder, Brown, and Smart. They already have promising young players such as Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier that will be good backups at the very least. Draft and stash big men Ante Zizic and Guerschon Yabusele are expected to join the team next year and it looks like they could possibly help right away. It was reported that many scouts believe Zizic would be a top 10 pick if he was in this upcoming draft and he can be key in strengthening our rebounding.
The Brooklyn Picks
The 2017 pick is guaranteed top 4 and the 2018 pick looks like it has a great chance of falling in the top 5. Teams tank to get picks like this because it’s where the star players are. Teams that have nobody draft these guys in hopes that they can fix their broken-ass franchise. The Celtics are incredibly fortunate to be a good team and have great picks at the same time. It is a rare place to be in and most teams in the league would kill to be in this position.
If we trade the picks… It seems clear that Danny won’t trade these picks until he is sure his team is ready to take the next step. He doesn’t want to trade a potential great player for a guy with a year or two left on his contract. He also doesn’t want to take on any huge salaries unless it’s a legit superstar. None of those were available at the deadline. The truth is if we traded a pick for Paul George or Jimmy Butler we still wouldn’t be good enough to win a ring. Then there is a risk they leave in a couple years, we lose cap space that could be better used elsewhere, and we miss out on the draft pick. Danny isn’t trading this pick unless it’s a steal of a deal.
If we keep the picks… Most top 5 picks aren’t busts. If the Celtics do keep these picks they will probably get someone who will help their team for a long time. The worst case scenario is you get an Anthony Bennett but that is extremely rare. The best case scenario is you get a LeBron James, Karl-Anthony Towns, or Anthony Davis level player and that is also rare. But there is still a better chance of obtaining a superstar this way than there is through free agency. And you probably aren’t getting a star in a trade without significantly depleting the rest of your team. The draft is the only way to add a star to your team without breaking the bank or trading some of your best players. It is a risk but it’s a risk that Danny Ainge is willing to take. And I’m excited to see what happens.
This team won’t win it all this year and probably won’t next year either but Danny Ainge has done a phenomenal job so far as the GM and there are so many options for this offseason and the next. He is going the “boring” route to try and achieve long term success. Our record may be good but make no mistake this team is still rebuilding. He wants this team to be a dynasty and although it may be risky, it’s a gamble I am happy he is making.