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Please God, let Ainge have a revelation before it's too late.
A couple of days ago, I wrote an open letter addressed to Danny Ainge, hoping that he'd realize he had the upper hand in this deal and would at least manage to offload a 5 mil contract onto the Clippers. Apparently that didn't go well. So here's my second attempt to explain why this proposed trade, i.e. Doc & KG for Jordan and two first rounders, doesn't make sense both in the short and long run. (If you read until the end, though, you'll find a faint silver lining)

First of all, DeAndre Jordan is paid about the same money as KG, and their contracts both expire in two years. This trade changes nothing in the Celtics' cap situation in the short run. On the contrary, it might make things even worse for 2014: If KG would retire and forgo his salary, the Celtics would only have 40 million dollars in salary commitment come 2014/15. That would mean that the Celtics could, at least theoretically, make a run at a big name. Among the free agents of 2014 are names such as DeMarcus Cousins (qualifying offer), Andrew Bogut, Anderson Varejao (non-guaranteed), Larry Sanders (qualifying offer), Zach Randolph (player option for 16 mil), both Danny Granger and Paul George (Pacers can't hold onto both), and the Big 3 of the Heat. I'm not saying that we can definitely attract at least one of these guys, but especially given the state of the Heat and how it'll change the dynamics of the league, it would be wise to have room for one big contract. However, by taking on Jordan's ridiculous contract, we're going to have our hands tied unless Ainge somehow sheds more salary of the team.

That brings me to my second point: To be able to shed salary, you have to acquire assets that will make your trade partners go "Oh, OK then." Unfortunately, the two first-round picks that come with the KG-Jordan trade will not be of high value. Teams realize that the Clippers picks will not be lottery picks, so while you can use them as sweeteners, you can't convince anyone for a potential win-win trade with those. That means that if we want to offload contracts, we have to take on contracts, and that's obviously not a wise move for a team that might run into trouble come 2015 because they'll have to negotiate a new contract with their star player Rajon Rondo. How do you convince him to stay if another team offers a better situation success-wise?

If Danny Ainge had convinced the Clippers to at least take on Lee's or Terry's contract or gotten another asset (even Butler's expiring contract would do!), this deal would have made some financial sense. It just doesn't. I don't see any angles that makes this trade even a slight win for the Celtics. We can't make any significant moves for the next two years with the salaries we have even if the Celtics amnesty Paul Pierce. (Fellow writer Mike Dyer had explained this before)

So here's the silver lining/wishful thinking that I promised: This is only the first step of Ainge's game plan. He's also planning i) another trade with other players that'll somehow make the Celtics competitive this year (although it is a non-written rule that only the Lakers can make such deals), ii) to move up in the draft with the picks we have (I don't have extensive knowledge on draft classes though) or iii) for some of the mid-level players we currently have to shine this year so that he can do a mid-season trade that puts us in a better situation for years to come. In simpler English, I'm hoping that he knows something that we don't.

For the Celtics to start rebuilding efficiently for a post-KG/Pierce era, the best case scenario was to amnesty Pierce, let KG retire and clear cap space to make a run at an elite talent this offseason. The Celtics had all the emotional hurdles cleared with Doc's move, but now are on the verge of committing themselves to DeAndre Jordan instead of any other free agent that might come this year or next year.

This deal, unfortunately, might end up being one of the worst mistakes in Celtics history.

semioticus (shelbyl) 6/20/2013 12:22:00 PM Edit
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