Uncertain Times: Trades?

Trading this year comes in two distinct varieties—before the CBA is renegotiated, and after. No free agents can be signed under the current agreement until after July 1—coincidentally after the current CBA has expired. So dealing teams are limited to draft picks and players currently under contract. Boston has exactly six players under contract—the starters and Avery Bradley. The Celtics owe no picks and have the conditional Clippers first rounder in 2012, Minnesota’s 2013 second round pick, and two nebulous Sacramento second round picks (only if the Kings are in the top five teams—like that is going to happen) in 2015 and 2017 from those roster dumps at the trade deadline the past two seasons.

Now Danny Ainge doesn’t know, or at least believe in, the word never; but I strongly doubt that he will be moving any of these assets. Yes I know he is bad mouthing this year’s draft crop and there’s talk of moving out of the first round—coughBullShitte as Slider would say. This is not a seller’s market
and as I said last time the opportunity is in purchasing additional picks not selling them. So my read is that the Celtics’ trading activity in June will be a thunderous silence—any picks acquired are more likely to be bought.

After the new CBA it is very likely that the off-season maneuvering will be severely compressed, perhaps with signings, trades, camp, and preseason crammed into a couple of weeks. Even then the Celtics have only one restricted free agent and any other sign-and-trade possibilities (Davis for instance) would be accommodations to UFA’s and their prospective suitors. Besides who knows what the new NBA landscape will look like? Perhaps free-agency will be very different. Will money restrictions be severe, or perhaps phased in and down? If there is an immediate hard cap, there is going to be a whole lot of vet min and rookie contracts on almost every team. About the only certainty is that the blogosphere will be flooded with hare-brained suggestions completely ignoring the new rules just like it has been with those too lazy to read or be bothered with the current restrictions; or just assuming other GM’s will gladly swap All-Stars for cannon fodder.

So there you have my take, the Celtics just don’t have the pieces to be a major player in the trade market, before or after the CBA resolution. Now as for this next season, assuming there will be one, there is an ever increasing possibility that the wheels come off the Celtics’ train and mid-season may be a wholesale revamping. As for the possibility that we are all sitting around next June writing about the lost season, I rather doubt that will be the case. I suspect the tune will change as soon as the players realize that only a few of them are not entangled with current contracts that prohibit them getting clearance from FIBA to play abroad, and that even for those that can, there are only a dozen or so jobs available in the cash-strapped Euro Leagues.