With 11 days remaining before the NBA trade deadline, teams are trying to figure out if they are a contenders or pretenders. We have already seen teams like the Cavaliers try to make a last ditch effort at a playoff run (swing and a miss!), but the truth is the NBA is not all that balanced, and the haves, i.e. Miami, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Indiana, Portland, and the LA Clippers are the only teams with a real shot to win the NBA title. Regardless of the lack of parity, there are still teams that are looking to improve their rosters or go in another direction. It is time for Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics to start calling them.
The 2013-2014 Boston Celtics currently stand at 18-34 with 30 games left on their schedule. It’s very clear that Boston has become one of the “have not’s” and are in a rebuilding stage. With that being said, what is the point of keeping players that hold value but aren’t in the plan for the future? The answer is simple- there is no point in retaining them. There are five players on the Celtics roster that need to have their futures decided sooner rather than later. Let’s take a look at their situations.
Jeff Green- With his nine million per year on the books for two more seasons and his inability to step up and be the consistent player he was expected to be, it’s time to move on. Green deserved the benefit of the doubt after having open heart surgery and last year became a mulligan season, but the excuses have run dry and Green is what he is-maddeningly inconsistent but very talented. Let someone else try and draw the potential out of him because it isn’t happening in Beantown.
Brandon Bass- He was a solid addition for the Celtics and a strong return for Big Baby Davis, but he doesn’t fit in the Celtics future plans. The tweener forward also accounts for over six million on the cap with another season remaining, so not only is he not part of the future, he’s slowing down the rebuilding process by taking playing time away from younger big men and also eating up cap space that could be allotted to a younger core player like Avery Bradley. There have been rumors surrounding Bass since the season began; it’s time to make one of those rumors a reality.
Kris Humphries- This is truly a “time is of the essence” situation with the strong rebounding power forward; Humphries can simply walk and Boston will gain 12 million in cap space, but it makes more sense to try and gain an asset for a player that could help a team down the stretch. Humphries is an attractive player for a possible playoff team; Charlotte might make sense with the expiring contract of Ben Gordon and a possible first round pick. Humphries might also be a part of a package deal.
Gerald Wallace- Moving Wallace might be a little tricky. He accounts for over ten million on the cap and he has two seasons left on his awful contract. Wallace is only 31 years old, so he isn’t exactly washed up. Danny Ainge may end up having to take back some baggage to move Wallace, but if it clears cap space, it’s worth it. Wallace may be part of a package deal if the Celtics move on from…
Rajon Rondo- This is a tricky one. 27 year old point guards with championship pedigree aren’t the easiest thing to find, not to mention one who is as competitive as any player in the game and looks to have learned a thing a two while out with a torn ACL. Rondo has one season remaining on his deal and has said that free agency “intrigues” him, so what do the Celtics do? Simple- hold onto him unless a young big man or top five pick is the return. Danny Ainge should do all he can to pry a big from Detroit, especially with that franchise in a bit of disarray, but if Detroit stands by their declaration of no Drummond/Monroe, there is no reason to trade Rondo. When the draft rolls around and a team offers a top five pick, that would be hard to turn down too, but until one of those scenarios occurs, expect to see number nine running the point until at least February of 2015.
Danny Ainge and his front office need to make these decisions or the Celtics will stay in a neutral stage that nobody wants to be in. The next ten days in Boston could go a long way towards deciding how soon the Celtics contend again, but until Ainge and Co. put it in drive, Boston fans are just going to have to be patient and confident that there is a plan to bring title number 18 to the hub of basketball.