Addressing the Battier Talk

Yesterday, CSNNE's A. Sherrod Blakely floated the idea around that the Celtics could attain Houston's Shane Battier using Rasheed's contract. Which - understandably - had many Boston fans excited. It did make sense. The Rockets are now among the top 5 teams in terms of payroll and if they don't cut it down they will be in the luxury tax. Blakely points to this as a reason for Houston GM, Daryl Morey, to make the deal. Trading for Sheed's contract, Blakely says, would save them $1 million at least. The Rockets are also stacked at the small forward position.

As for why the deal would work for Boston:
"Battier gives the C's a veteran presence who can defend small forwards at a comparable level to the departed Tony Allen (signed with Memphis earlier this month); is in the last year of his contract which means the C's won't have to make a long-term commitment which is consistent with the Celtics' approach to offseason additions this summer; one of the more respected players in the league, would be a good fit inside the C's locker room."
Blakely makes some great points and it all comes together on paper, however, ESPN Boston's Chris Forsberg de-rails the Battier idea. Forsberg points to comments from Morey made during Brad Miller's press conference that reveal the Rockets are perfectly fine with being in the luxury.
Daryl Morey touched on the team's payroll issues and doesn't sound like a guy ready to deal away Battier. From FoxSports Houston: 
 'Meanwhile, Morey acknowledged that with the addition of Miller, the Rockets will rank somewhere near the top five teams in the NBA in payroll. In fact, unless they reduce the payroll during the season through a trade, the Rockets will be in the luxury tax this season. Morey said owner Les Alexander is willing to take that plunge with the current roster.'
And more cold water from the Houston Chronicle: 
'With a lot of key guys like Yao Ming and Shane Battier [at the end of contracts] and the lockout [looming] next year, we’re trying to make this is a special year and go as far in the playoffs as we can,' said Morey.

Forsberg then points out that it would be more realistic for the Rockets to use Battier's contract during the season after Houston's evaluated their needs. At the trade deadline, the contract would be more valuable to teams and the Rockets could use it to strengthen their push for a championship.

The Rockets seem to be a bit of a sleeper for the upcoming season. With the return of Yao Ming, Houston figures to return to contention in 2010-11. With Ming in the lineup two seasons ago, the Rockets took the eventual champion Lakers to seven games in the Western Conference Semifinals.