When your nickname is "Trader" as is the case with Celtics' GM Danny Ainge, there can't be many untouchables on the C's roster.
Although Ainge wouldn't hesitate at trading anyone, who should be in consideration for the long-term plans of the team?
Isaiah Thomas first comes to mind, but his contract is a gift and a curse. Going into next season, the Celtics spark plug has three years remaining on a deal that will pay him $6 million and some change, annually.
When Ainge acquired Thomas, he was quick to point out his contract, which implies that it is easy to move if the right team comes calling.
According to reports near the trade deadline, Ainge turned down a deal that would have netted a first-round pick for Avery Bradley. So it seems like the longest-tenured Celtic could be in Boston for the foreseeable future. On Wednesday the 24-year old received five first-team All-Defensive votes.
His offensive game has improved dramatically since his rookie season. But, as with anything it's all about the money and Ainge could find takers for Bradley, who is making $8 million a year, especially once the cap goes up. His contract will look like a steal in a few years. (I have to say that as the Unofficial President of the Avery Bradley Fan Club).
As far as the other players on the roster. Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, James Young, Tyler Zeller, and Evan Turner are all surely going to be dangled this offseason if Ainge can finagle his way into a superstar player, or even a borderline All-Star.
Jae Crowder turned into a fan-favorite after being dealt to the green in December, and Ainge clearly loves the gritty forward, but who knows what happens with his contract negotiations this summer.
This leaves the one real option, as far as a guy in the long-term blueprint for the franchise, Marcus Smart.
I'm sure Smart can be had for the right deal, but as of right now I would be shocked to see the 20-year old guard leave Boston via a trade. Giving up on a defensive stud with a growing offensive game would be a big mistake, unless you are getting back proven talent. The C's rook received two second-team All-Defensive votes on Wednesday and is more likely than not going to be a first-teamer sooner rather than later.
He also was named to the All-Rookie Second Team earlier in the week.
Now if Smart somehow has a sophomore slump, his name could hit the market, especially if Coach Brad Stevens wants to give more playing time to Thomas and Bradley.
I just don't see Smart's progression taking a step back so if your'e a fan of the Celtics, you can purchase a Smart jersey with some added confidence that it won't be a collectors item before the season begins.
Photo by Danny Bollinger/NBAE via Getty Images
Follow CelticWelch on Twitter @CelticWelch Rob Welch 5/20/2015 08:47:00 PM Tweet Edit