On Monday night's pregame show, CSNNE's A. Sherrod Blakely was talking about the report from the Sporting News saying teams are interested in Brandon Bass when Blakely said he sees Bass going to a contender like Oklahoma City.
So what could the Celtics get from the Thunder for Bass and can a trade between the two teams even be possible?
Oklahoma City is built like a contender, that is they pay their best players a ton and their role players very little. There aren't too many middling contracts to choose from on the Thunder's payroll, at least not any that wouldn't directly impact their title hopes, like Thabo Sefolosha's expiring deal. They are also precariously close to the luxury tax and traded James Harden away so they wouldn't be stuck paying that, so any deal can't add much at all to Oklahoma City's salaries.
Boston could trade for Kendrick Perkins, which was probably the first name that popped into your head when "Boston," "trade" and "Oklahoma City" were all in the same sentence. But Perkins' contract is very bad. He's making $8.7 million this year and is owed $9.4 million next year. The Celtics would trade Bass to either shed salary or gain assets. Gaining a guy who is a year older and makes more money accomplishes neither of those goals. Boston is even closer to the luxury tax than the Thunder, so even if they did trade Bass for Perkins, they would have to throw in a contract like Vitor Faverani's $2 million just to avoid paying extra during a rebuilding year.
There's really only one scenario that might get both GMs talking.
The Celtics trade Bass, a lottery protected first round pick and the conditional first-rounder from Philadelphia for Jeremy Lamb ($2,111,160 in 2013-14, $2,202,000 in 2014-15, $3,034,356 team option in 2015-16, $4,175,274 qualifying offer in 2016-17), Nick Collison ($2,585,668 in 2013-14, $2,242,003 in 2013-14), Hasheem Thabeet ($1,200,000 in 2013-14, non-guaranteed $1,250,000 in 2014-15) and Andre Roberson ($740,560 in 2013-14, $1,160,880 in 2014-15, $1,210,800 team option in 2015-16, $2,183,072 team option in 2016-17, $3,222,215 qualifying offer in 2017-18).
|Jeremy Lamb could look good draining shots in green|
Boston is already shedding $20 million in salary at the end of the season with Kris Humphries, Keith Bogans and Jerryd Bayless all expiring, so this deal is not so much about savings, as it is about a good young asset in Lamb. The former UConn Husky is a really nice young player in his second year with lots of upside who is averaging 9.8 ppg, 2.7 rpg and is shooting 35.6 percent from beyond the arc in 22 minutes per contest.
At just 21 years old, Lamb could be seen as the Thunder's starting shooting guard of the future, but on a team built around Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, a shooter like Lamb may not see many touches the next few years. Oklahoma City's title chances wouldn't take a big hit this year either, as Westbrook is said to be back shortly after the All-Star break to join the guard rotation with Sefolosha, Derek Fisher and Reggie Jackson.
In Boston, Lamb could either be the starting off-guard to build around, making Avery Bradley expendable for a bigger trade, or Lamb could play a sixth-man role as he continues to develop and would make a lethal backcourt trio with Bradley and Rajon Rondo. Even if it's just to trade him down the line, getting a nice, cheap asset like Lamb is an upgrade over Bass.
As for the other players that would come to Boston, Collison comes off the books after next season and the team adds another veteran to help guide the young players.
I've always been a fan of Thabeet and still hold out hope that he can be salvaged. The guy has a ridiculous instinct for blocking shots and even though he's already 26 years old, there's still enough of a window for the seven-footer to improve and become a legitimate player in the league. If not, his salary next year isn't guaranteed so no harm, no foul. The Celtics could also swap out Thabeet for Perry Jones III, another promising second-year player who's 6'11" and plays small forward. Let that sink in for a minute. That trade would rectify Boston GM Danny Ainge's decision to pass over Jones to pick Fab Melo. Jones has much more value than Thabeet so another pick, or picks, would have to go to Oklahoma City.
If Boston really wanted Jones, they could include Bradley in the deal, with the Thunder adding Sefolosha. Oklahoma City would get a defense-first guard, along with Bass, to add to the offense-first team and Boston would turn one up-and-coming player into two. That addition would greatly reduce the amount of picks the Celtics would trade away, possibly down to none or a second rounder or two.
Roberson is a throw-in to keep the money as close as possible. His contract is only guaranteed up to next season and could be shipped down to the D-League along with Faverani to make room for Thabeet, Collison and Lamb on the roster.
The biggest part of this deal is the draft pick compensation. Some may see giving up two protected first rounders or a nice young player in Bradley for a slew of bench fillers and a young player or two in Lamb and Jones as too big of a price. But odds are the Philadelphia pick turns into two second rounders and Boston owns so many first round picks the next few years they'll hardly notice a couple missing. And this team's rebuild just got underway. The more young, talented players in Boston, the better.
Would the Thunder do this deal? Probably not. It's hard to justify trading away four players on your roster for another bench player. But if the draft picks are right or Bradley is included, they'll be fine picking up a guy or two off the D-League to fill out their roster. It's up to Ainge if he wants to use some of those assets he's been stockpiling.
Eric Blaisdell 2/10/2014 11:26:00 PM Tweet Edit