Yes, while it might not be ideal that Danny Ainge, the Boston Celtics GM and President of Basketball Operations, didn’t trade Jeff Green or Brandon Bass, it’s all evened out by the fact that he didn’t trade Rajon Rondo either. It would have been great to get rid of Green and Bass’s bad contracts, and by trading them it would also benefit the Celtics’ (tanking?) efforts, as they make the team better despite the suspected lack of desire on Ainge’s part for the team to be successful. While that was a negative, what would have been much worse would have been if the Celtics had traded Rajon Rondo. Despite several rumors and polarized opinions by Boston fans, Rondo is still a Celtic, and it’s a miracle that he is.
First, let me just explain that I think not trading Jeff Green and/or Brandon Bass was a mistake, although even that could be debatable. Jeff Green has been a huge disappointment this season, revealing that his inconsistency is not just the product of his limited opportunities in the past, and more of a legitimate problem with his mentality. Brandon Bass is a solid role player, and would be an effective and useful piece of a contending team – but the Celtics aren’t even close to contending. Currently owning the fourth-worst record in the NBA, Bass isn’t being utilized to the extent that he could be. Both of their contracts are bad, not nearly as bad as their teammate’s Gerald Wallace’s contract (perhaps the worst in the entire league, when you take into consideration the duration of the contract and the return it is netting), but definitely not the types of contracts a rebuilding team needs. Both players probably could have been traded, maybe not with the return that Ainge was hoping for, but I’m sure that several teams would have been willing to take them. Why do I believe that not trading these two didn’t ruin the trade deadline for the Celtics? Well, for a couple reasons. One, the fact that Ainge didn’t trade Rondo is a huge positive, and two, the Celtics could probably get more for Green and/or Bass in the future. With their contracts today, trade partners would most likely be willing to give up very little for either player. Next season, when Bass’s contract will be in its last year, he’ll most definitely look much more valuable to a contender looking for a rental role player. As for Jeff Green, maybe it’s just because I’m hopeful, but I still believe that he could be a solid piece on a playoff team. Not as a first or second scoring option, but as we saw last year when he was the third scoring option behind Pierce and Garnett, he can be a very solid piece in a couple years – when I expect the Celtics to be back in the playoff race.
As for Rajon Rondo, so many fans wanted him gone, but in my opinion, he’s the key to the future for the Celtics. He’s a pass-first star who’ll no doubt help the development of the young players that the Celtics draft. He isn’t effective enough by himself where the Celtics are good enough not to get a good draft pick, which is a huge positive to tank-lovers like myself. He’s a passionate player, who will inspire younger players to play with the same fire and intensity. He’s getting along with his new coach, a big concern following the year, and is looking like he has fully embraced the captaincy of the Celtics that he was given upon his return. Also, Rondo is definitely starting to look like his old self again, and after a rusty few games coming off of his ACL tear, has really impressed, coming very close to triple doubles and putting up great assist numbers despite the lack of shooters on the Celtics. Trading Rajon Rondo would have been a tremendous mistake, and only a bounty similar to the PP/KG to the Nets trade would even get me interested in the prospect of trading him. He’s the key to a speedy rebuild process, and if all goes well over the draft and the offseason, could be over with the Celtics contending again in as few as two years. Now I understand that that picture is pretty ideal, but it is also attainable if the right actions are taken. The simple fact that Danny Ainge didn’t trade Rondo is incredible, as it would have been a huge mistake, and would have made the trade deadline an absolute failure, even if Ainge did successfully trade Green and Bass.
All in all, the fact that Rajon Rondo is still a Boston Celtic is such a positive that it completely matches any negative that not trading Green and Bass was. Some readers might be a little confused as to why I haven’t mentioned Gerald Wallace as a player to trade. Well, no NBA GM in his right mind would willingly take on that contract without a treasure chest of assets, that just are too important to give up just to get rid of his contract. Green and Bass are realistic trade goals, as both provide play to back up their contracts (maybe not all the way, but certainly to an extent) whereas Wallace provides no return for the vast amounts of money that he’s being paid. No, this year’s deadline wasn’t eventful for the Celtics, but that’s fine. Not the best way it could have happened, but certainly not the worst either. In fact, I commend Danny Ainge for his patience and knowledge to know when he doesn’t have to make a deal just to make a deal. Celtics fans: don’t be upset about the deadline, the future is still as bright as it ever was.