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According to Zach Lowe of Grantland, the Celtics are desperately trying to deal Brandon Bass for something of value, but are finding no takers.

The league might be fetishisizing the 3-point shot, especially among big men, at the expense of other skills. The Celtics have tried like hell, but they can’t get anything of value on the trade market for Brandon Bass and his $6.9 million expiring contract. The Wizards will pay Kris Humphries and DeJuan Blair about $6 million combined this season — about what teams pay on average for their third and fourth big men. Hump provides some shot-blocking, and Blair brings the lower-body girth to bump centers. But in the big picture, each fits the “out-of-style power forward” archetype.

Obviously it's not surprising that the Cs want to move Bass, a veteran, who while fairly valuable, is also overpaid and plays the same position as Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk, two young players who need playing time. But it's also not surprising that teams are not lining up to both pay Bass his $6.9 million salary, and give up something of value. Personally I think that the time to trade Bass was last season in a Courtney Lee type deal, where the Cs would have gotten back an expiring contract and nothing else. Now it's tougher to make a deal because Bass is an expiring contract, meaning there's less to gain for the Celts to simply receive another expiring deal(s) in return. After all, what's the point of dealing a $7 million expiring for another $7 million expiring, unless the player you get back fills a need or has potential that you feel exceeds Bass'?

However there is also value to simply dumping Bass to free up minutes for Sully and Olynyk, and that means Danny Ainge has a decision to make: Should he dump Bass for a non-power forward with an expiring deal? Or does he hold on to the veteran in hopes that he has a solid first half and a contender gives something up for him in February?

If it were me making the decision, I think simply freeing up the minutes is worth it at this point. Everyone knows what Bass is, a 10 and 6 guy who plays good defense and can hit a mid-range jumper. He's likely worth $4-5 million per season, but is getting paid $6.9 million, and that is a huge turn off in a league where overpaid role players are now considered poison. It's very unlikely that his value across the league increases over the next handful of months, so if you can get a slightly smaller contract back, say a $5 million expiring, it's likely a deal I would do to free up those minutes at PF.

But it's clear that Bass' deal isn't the biggest fish to fry for Ainge. Since it expires next summer, the Celts can already begin their 2015 planning knowing that Bass will be off the books. That's not the case for Jeff Green (who has a $9.2 million player option for 2015-16), and Gerald Wallace (who has $10.1 million owed to him in '15-16). So I would imagine that Ainge is much more concerned about making sure that neither of these guys is still around at this point next year (Wallace is much more likely to be "stretched" than traded, but don't rule out his contract being attached to a protected (or late) first rounder similar to what the Warriors did to dump Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins). However that doesn't mean that Ainge won't pull the trigger on moving the 29-year-old Bass before the start of the season, even if the only value the Cs get back is more playing time for their young bigs.


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Michael Dyer 8/06/2014 01:49:00 PM Edit
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