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.
Trader Danny. We all know the nickname, we’ve all seen him fleece teams beyond belief in the past, and we all know he’s always looking for the next big score. As December 15th is now officially upon us and most of the league is now eligible to be traded, it remains to be seen if the Celtics will make a deal.
Danny Ainge has stood relatively pat over the last two seasons when it comes to in-season moves. Two years ago, an injury to Gordon Hayward on opening night changed the outlook of the season with Ainge declining any major moves beyond adding Greg Monroe with the team’s disabled player exception granted tor Hayward’s absence…
Last season, Ainge once again elected to stand pat in the midst of a tumultuous season, believing the team had turn things around from a 10-10 start with a strong stretch of play in January. That projection does not look good in hindsight as the C’s both failed to get out of the second round and lost a number of their expiring contracts (Marcus Morris, Terry Rozier) for no meaningful return this offseason.
Since the Kyrie Irving deal Danny Ainge has been relatively quiet on the trade market in terms of big moves. He’s made smaller deals like the Baynes deal and some jockeying for position in the draft, but other than that, he’s been quite tame in recent years. I’d expect that to be no different as I don’t really see any big moves being made by the Celtics. They have their stars, they have their core, and there aren’t guys on the market that really would be worth it to part with a Marcus Smart (Don’t yell at me, he’s not going anywhere, his contract is just fabulous for deals) or a Gordon Hayward.
Before we get into specific names here I’ll go ahead and throw a few into the dumpster right off the bat. Unbeknownst to Howard Beck, the Celtics are not, under any circumstances, trading assets for Kevin Love.
He’s on the books for $28,942,830 this season and the only way the Celtics can even finagle such a deal would be by parting ways with either Gordon Hayward or Kemba Walker. To make a short story even shorter…They’re not doing that.
Another hot couple of names that have crept in are Tristan Thompson and Steven Adams. Once again, they’ll both be too expensive for Boston and will require a big name to even get trade talks off of the ground. While the bigger names like these will figure to be off of Boston’s wish-list, there’s a bevy of role players on the market that could prove useful in the long run for the green.
Memphis: Old friend Jae Crowder is certain to be on the trade block with his $7.8 million salary set to come off the books at the end of the season. He has some familiarity with Boston obviously but his 3-point shooting has fallen off a cliff (32 percent) since he left town.
As a member of Jae Crowder Fan Club, I wouldn’t hate to see BOSSMAN99 make a return to Boston. The Celtics desperately need some more shooting/offense off of their bench and Crowder could be someone that fits the bill at a low price. He knows the system and it would figure to be a seamless transition integrating him into the rotation.
Golden State: Not a ton of big upgrades here but plenty of cheap talent that was signed to league minimum deals this offseason to an already bloated payroll. One name to keep an eye on as a shooting bench upgrade? Alec Burks, who is averaging 15.6 ppg and knocking down 35 percent of his 3s. Willie Cauley-Stein and Glenn Robinson will also be available.
Once again, another couple of players that could bolster the Celtic bench. Alec Burks has always been someone who’s a sort of a microwave and could add some more pep to the Celtics trove of reserves. He also is extremely cheap as his cap hit of $2,320,044 is pennies in terms of salary matching. As for Glenn Robinson, he’s a raw talent, but he’s cheap ($1,882,867 cap hit), and he’s hit 36.8% of his threes this season.
Washington: Davis Bertans is the perfect target for a stretch big and makes a modest $7 million but that will make him a hot commodity on the trade market. The C’s would need to fork over a late first-round pick to secure his services in all likelihood along with some combination of Poirier/Green and one of Ojeleye/Edwards. Straight up for Kanter and a pick would also work but then C’s would need to replace Kanter’s bulk and rebounding elsewhere.
Now this, this is the section of this blog I’ve been waiting for. The Latvian big man has had a break out season in Washington as he’s averaged career highs across the board (15.4 ppg 4.6 rpg and 1.6 apg on 46.6/45.6/88.9 shooting splits). He’s the perfect stretch big man and someone who could really space the floor off the bench for Boston. It won’t be the cheapest option out there as he is going to be a highly sought after player on the market, but it may be the best in terms of results.
It should be interesting to see how the Celtics approach bolstering their bench but it’s clearly a need to improve that part of the roster as we inch closer and closer to the February 6th Trade Deadline.
Page 2: Where old friend Micah Shrewsberry has some thoughts on this year’s Celtics
(On Brad Stevens) “I think he’s thrilled with how they’re playing, but how they’re going about handling their business is the biggest point,” Shrewsberry said. “He just looks and sounds happier. He always used to talk about the teams that make Boston proud, and I think that’s what this group is kind of doing. They bring it every single night, and even the nights they’re not at their best, they fight back into it. That’s the kind of fighter’s mentality that I think Brad wants his groups to play with, and it looks like that’s what they’re doing. That’s who they are this year.”
Micah Shrewsberry has been there with Brad Stevens from the jump as this is his first season in almost a decade not on Stevens’ bench as an assistant. The two are very close and no one really knows Brad like Micah does. It’s fascinating seeing his take on this season compared to last season. Needless to say, it’s been night and day as it seems like Brad is having fun coaching again. He set out to groom a team that Boston would love and so far he’s done it to a T and others are taking notice.
He also had some thoughts on the Jays and how their development has come along:
“For Jaylen, each year how he handles the ball and how he handles situations has gotten so much better,” Shrewsberry said. “He’s becoming so skilled with the ball where you just trust him…”
Shrewsberry said he has also been impressed by Tatum’s improved play off the dribble, either as a scorer or distributor. He believes his inconsistent shooting will find its level over time, but it is clear to him that he is embracing a larger role now.
“It’s fun to see him step up in those moments where they need a big shot or a big play, and he’s stepping into that moment,” he said. “He’s just going to continue to grow in that role.
He worked so heavily with those guys and it has to be awesome for him to see them flourishing on the big stage. So much of their development was left to Micah and we’re seeing now first hand how that has paid off. While there’s still a whole lot of basketball to be played, the Celtics have impressed, shown us who they really are, and it’s been a sight to behold in real-time.
THE REST OF THE LINKS:
Boston Herald: Enes Kanter accepts his rotating role