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"We're willing to do anything we can to move needle this year," Olshey said. "But unless it's piece for the future that also gives us to win a championship this year, we're not going to give up our longterm flexibility and assets to do that."

The price for the top shooting guards being mentioned in trade talks this spring -- Boston's Ray Allen, Portland's Jamal Crawford and Washington's Nick Young -- has so far been too high for the Clippers.

Most teams have asked for some combination of young point guard Eric Bledsoe, a future first-round pick and the expiring contracts of Randy Foye or Brian Cook.

Although Bledsoe has seen limited action this year due to injury (knee) and playing behind Chris Paul, Billups and Mo Williams, his value around the league is high with so many teams looking for young point guards and the dearth of them in the upcoming draft.

It's for that reason the Clippers fought so hard to exclude Bledsoe from the trade with the New Orleans Hornets that brought Paul to Los Angeles back in December. He's also an important insurance policy for the Clippers should Williams opt-out of the final year of his contract this summer.

I know Bill Simmons had suggested the Celtics should trade Ray Allen for Mo Williams and Eric Bledsoe, but there is no way the Clips give up both guards, and as Larry Bird mentioned last week, Danny can't expect both a good young player on a rookie contract as well as a first rounder for a couple month Ray Allen rental.

It's unclear whether the Clippers would move the 22 year old Bledsoe straight up for Ray. Twitter was abuzz with Bledsoe praise yesterday as the Clippers attempted their comeback versus the Warriors. His performance might have given the Clippers enough pause to put the kabosh on moving him.

In Bledsoe the Celtics would get a solid young back-up point guard to Rajon Rondo and if the stories are true that Danny Ainge has no desire to rebuild around Rondo, Bledsoe has starter potential. The maine (and possibly only) reason not to make the trade is if Ainge has changed course and now thinks the Celtics can contend for the title this season. The Celtics inconsistent performances make this very tricky to predict.

Ray Allen, unlike Paul Pierce, in not a Celtics Lifer, so while his loss would hurt many fans, it might be in both Ray and the Celtics best interests to pull the trigger this week. Fans romanticize about the Celtics signing a couple stud free agents and then convincing Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to sign for the minimum, but neither have given any inclination that they'd be willing to leave millions of dollars on the table. So if Ray is most likely to leave this Summer with the Celtics get nothing, why not make a move now?

For the record, I am for keeping Paul Pierce (if he wants to retire a Celtic and is fine with a rebuilding job), but I am in favor of exploring trades for Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, who will most likely be playing elsewhere next season anyway.



JR 3/12/2012 09:07:00 AM Edit
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