What Boston should do with the bottom of its roster

While most are focused on what the future holds with Boston's future hall of famers Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, there are players on the other end of the bench who could or could not be in green next season.

In a recent Boston Herald piece, Danny Ainge talked about the players Boston brought in over the course of last season to help shore up a banged up Celtics squad. Three of them, Shavlik Randolph, Terrence Williams and D.J. White, are owed a little over $3 million combined next year in non-guaranteed contracts. Jordan Crawford is owed around $2.2 million next season with a $3.2 million qualifying offer for the 2014-15 season.

Shav helped us a lot,” said Ainge. “I think Shav is a good player. He’s a guy that will probably have the best chance of being with us in the future, just because he rebounds, and that was one of our weaknesses.
“I think Shav would have played a bigger role in the playoffs had we gone further.”

Williams has had some offseason issues, but when he was on the court he showed he's a more than capable bench guard.

I think Terrence is a versatile player,” Ainge added. “I think he’s a smart player. He has good basketball instincts. His comfort level is more with the ball in his hands, and he hasn’t had a ton of reps like that in the NBA. But I think that’s where his strength lies, especially for us, because I think that he takes pressure off Avery.
“Avery can then defend the 1’s (point guards), which we like, and Terrence can guard bigger people and handle the ball more. I think that combination fits on paper.”

Crawford was lightning in a bottle. Meaning he left fans and opponents alike burned, dazed and wondering what the hell just happened. Streaky doesn't even begin to describe Crawford's game as he can pull of an amazing, out of nowhere, off one foot shot that goes in one possession and the next he can just spin out of bounds after chucking an air ball.

Ainge seemed to signal the end of the Crawford experiment in Boston.

Jordan did what we wanted to do, which was bring some firepower,” said Ainge. “I think it’s a little bit tough getting Jordan minutes that he’s really happy with when you put him with Jason Terry. I don’t think that combination is great. They’re both really good players, but in the playoffs that was not a combination that was working against New York. Not that that combination can’t play together, but it didn’t work well. But Jordan gave us what we hoped he would give us.”

As useful as these players were last season, none of them are going to be meaningful pieces moving forward. So what's a team to do with lower priority, semi-productive players that were gathered off the garbage heap to begin with? Trade them.

While individually Williams, White and Randolph don't hold a ton of value, together they could be used to snag up a great young big man being dangled out there for the taking.

The Houston Rockets are going hard after free agent Dwight Howard to team up with James Harden and are trying to free up as much cap space as humanly possible to be able to offer him a max deal. Houston's efforts are Boston's gain as the immortal Adrian Wojnarowski has reported one of the guys they are trying to offload is Thomas Robinson, the fifth pick in the 2012 draft.

Robinson is owed $3.52 million next season so the Celtics could trade the Williams, White and Randolph triumvirate as the money works. According to Larry Coon's great breakdown of the collective bargaining agreement, since the Celtics are projected to be tax payers again next season, they can only take back 125 percent of their outgoing salaries in any trade. No problem as Williams, White and Randolph are owed a little over $3 million, which could land a player making as much as $3.75 million.

Houston wants non-guaranteed contracts in the trade that they can waive to sign Howard. They probably want a future first round pick too just so they aren't completely giving Robinson away.

The Celtics should do this deal without any hesitation. They'd be giving up the dregs of their roster for a real contributor and a great young piece going forward. Robinson is raw, he averaged 4.8 ppg and 4.5 rpg in 15 minutes per game last season, split between the Sacramento Kings and Rockets. But at only 22 Robinson is a real hard worker and while he isn't the best at one thing, he does lots of things very well. He's a physical freak who can bang the boards, has great energy and can post-up.

As for the pick, it's a small price to pay for a potential starting power forward. The Celtics could help sell the pick by saying they could go into rebuild mode in a couple years making the first round pick higher and more valuable.

So lets go Boston, make this deal before Houston realizes Howard isn't leaving Los Angeles or figures out they have a great young stud and decides against shipping him.

Follow Eric