The question on the mind of every Celtics fan since 2012's improbable run to the ECF has been "when does Danny Ainge blow it up?"
Well that question has been answered. With only one member of the 2007-08 Championship team remaining on the Celtics, the staff of CelticsLife has taken to the ESPN Trade Machine to find some additional options for the Celtics to consider.
Week 5: Boston trades Kris Humphries and Courtney Lee to Memphis for Zach Randolph
Simply put, Zach Randolph is a proven offensive threat, a big presence around the hoop, and the driving force behind the assecention to the top of the Western Conference by the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Memphis Grizzlies are in a similar place to where the Celtics were last season- they are facing a “reboot.” The window to win a title in Memphis is closing, so moving assets while they are still at their peak value is a good way to ensure the future without establishing residence in mediocrity.
Memphis is all capped out and sees a future with young big Ed Davis- who at the end of the season is a restricted free agent. If the goal is to start to restructure the team and stay competitive, one way to do that is to use Z-Bo's value now to ensure support for Davis for years to come.
Kris Humphries is a 10-year NBA veteran who can help aid in the transition of Randolph to Davis. With a wealth of experience and little to no ego (which is saying something in the NBA), Humphries is a great solution that comes off the books at the end of this season. To make this trade work financially, the Celtics would include defensive specialist and offensive threat, Courtney Lee. Lee has answered the call each time Brad Stevens has gone to him this year and would help to round out the Memphis bench providing stability at the 2-guard position behind Tony Allen.
Z-Bo has a $16.9M player option for next year; that’s a hefty check that Memphis is looking to deal. Humphries $12M expiring contract and Lee’s $5M-a-year through 2015-16 is a fantastic match.
The Celtics get a tough vet that will continue to help bring along Sullinger and Olynyk while providing the Celtics with strong offense and defense in a weakened Eastern Conference. The Grizzlies get a big expiring deal, a very capable 10-year vet in Chris Humphries, and an affordable stopper in Courtney Lee, who by the way, is instant energy off the bench and an upgrade over Mike Miller.
The Celtics traded Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry at the end of last year to jump start the reboot and stay financially flexible for the next few years. Tying up that flexibility in nearly $17M of a 32-year old Zach Randolph is not the way to stay flexible.
Sullinger, Bass, Faverani, and Olynyk have been fantastic for the Celtics this year. Their four salaries combined for 2014-15 is $12.3M; $4.6M less than what Z-Bo is set to make.
While yes, the Celtics have $18.2M coming off the books at the end of the season (Humphries, Bogans, Brooks), immediately replacing that with a power forward north of 30 is not the way to ensure continuous success for the future. Especially when his size, production, and value is matched by the four guys you already have doing his job.
It’s an enticing offer, but ultimately doesn’t fit with what the Celtics need to be doing.
Let us know in the comment section if you would do this trade or not.
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Padraic O'Connor 12/13/2013 11:38:00 AM Tweet Edit