Grading the Celtics-Heat-Warriors trade

So the Celtics continued to tear apart their roster this afternoon, shipping guard Jordan Crawford (RIP All-Star Jordan Crawford) and MarShon Brooks to the Warriors, and receiving Joel Anthony, a protected 1st round pick and a 2nd round pick in return.

Overall, the deal shakes out like this.

Boston receives: Joel Anthony, 2014 76ers protected 1st round pick (protected 1-14 in 2014, 1-14 in 2015, becomes 2015 and 2016 second rounders if Philly misses playoffs both years), 2016 2nd round pick

Boston gives: Jordan Crawford, MarShon Brooks

Boston analysis: The deal is a bit complicated from the Celtics point of view, as we do not know whether they will end up with a first round pick + a second round pick (if Philly makes the playoffs either of the next two seasons), or three second round picks (if Philly missed the playoffs both years). But either way, this much as known: The Celtics dumped two players that they did not view as parts of their future for several picks, and in exchange agreed to pick up Anthony's $3.8 million in salary for next season.

This deal becomes a big win for the Celtics if the Sixers do make the playoffs in either 2014 (very unlikely) or 2015 (not as unlikely as you think). The Celts would be paying what amounts to $3.8 million for a first round pick, a pick that would likely be in the 16-20 range unless Philly makes the leap to upper-echelon Eastern Conference contender. Remember, the Warriors basically sold two late firsts to the Jazz for $20 million (in the form of Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson) this past summer, setting up the going rate as approximately $10M/first rounder. So if the Sixers do make a playoff run, this is an absolute slam dunk by Danny Ainge.

But what if they don't? Well, if the Celts end up with three second rounders in this deal (one likely high: 2015 76ers, one likely low: 2016 Heat, one unknown: 2016 76ers), the deal is merely a decent one for Ainge and the Cs. Boston would then be paying the $3.8 million price tag for three second rounders, which could be used as sweeteners in deals, or used to fill out Boston's roster going forward.

Even if this is the case, the Celtics are still only adding $3.8 million to their 2014-15 books, leaving them $12 million in cap space (and $25 million to work with under the luxury tax). If we use the tax number as the number the Celtics want to stay under, that means the team has $25 million to sign Avery Bradley and their two first round picks, plus fill out their roster. The Cs were always in bad shape to sign a big free agent this summer, unless they let Bradley walk and cleared additional space. This deal doesn't really change that.

Boston could still deal guys like Brandon Bass and Jeff Green if the right deal comes along, freeing up additional space. Bottomline: financially, this deal will not impact the Celtics 2014 plans very much, if at all. They still have plenty of room for the types of moves they will be making as they enter year two of their rebuild. Unless you thought this team was landing LeBron or Carmelo..the Cs are in good shape.

As far as the talent received, the Celtics obviously "lost" this deal. Except, they really didn't. It's seems clear that the Celtics are going to be building around the guard combo of Rajon Rondo-Bradley, making Crawford and Brooks expendable. Crawford played extremely well the first seven or eight weeks of the season, but he crashed back to Earth recently and remains a shaky option to run a team. He should thrive as the third guard on a good team, but Boston is several years away from being that (most likely), so he fits the Warriors much better than he does the Celts.

And obviously there's the added benefit that this deal makes the Celtics worse for 2013-14, helping the acquisition of ping pong balls. With Rajon Rondo coming back, the Cs need to weaken the rest of the roster enough to where the team can play hard, and still lose. This deal helps that.

Side note: The Celtics are "tanking". Again, that doesn't mean losing on purpose, but Ainge is positioning them to lose. You don't trade useful players for non-useful ones/picks unless you think it's in the best interests of your franchise to lose basketball games. And Ainge is right, it is.

Boston grade: B- if Sixers miss playoffs both years (Celtics get three second rounders), A- if they make it (Celtics get one first rounder + one second)

Miami gives: Joel Anthony, 2014 76ers protected 1st round pick, 2016 2nd round pick

Miami receives: Toney Douglas

Miami analysis: This trade is very, very simple for the Heat. They save a whopping $11.5 million by dumping Anthony for Douglas' expiring deal, which allows them to do two things.

1. Sign Andrew Bynum or another veteran for this season - Anthony was dead weight, and now the Heat can use that money to bring in a guy with a pulse to come off their bench. The leader in the clubhouse is Bynum, who could still be solid in a back-up role for Miami.

2. Opens up money to re-sign LeBron, Wade and Bosh - As deep as the Heat's pockets are, they are not unlimited. This deal saves Miami valuable cap space to help towards retaining their Big Three without spending Nets-like amounts in the luxury tax. The Heat now have only $8 million in projected non-Big 3 salary for next season (Udonis Haslem, Norris Cole, Chris Andersen), leaving them about $75 million to retain James, Bosh, Wade and the rest of their supporting cast without going over the salary number they had this season ($83 million).

Miami grade: B+

Golden State receives: Jordan Crawford, MarShon Brooks

Golden State gives: Toney Douglas

Golden State analysis: Hey a basketball team making a basketball move for basketball reasons..what a novel concept! The Warriors absolutely crushed this deal, picking up the best player moved (Crawford) in exchange for a lesser player in Douglas. Golden State gets a guy who has proven this season he can run an offense in short bursts, which should provide a punch to their lackluster second unit. The Dubs also didn't hurt their books in the long term, as both Crawford and Brooks expire in the summer.

Absolute no brainer for these guys.

Golden State grade: A

Final thoughts: This is a tough deal to swallow for many Celtics fans, and understandably so. After all, the Celts gave up a pretty good player in exchange for a crappy one who makes more money, AND may have enabled the Heat to re-sign LeBron and company.

But it's important to take a step back, breathe, and realize what this deal give the Celtics. Worst case, three second rounders in exchange for $3.8 million in salary during a season where you are highly unlikely to spend to the luxury tax anyways, and two players without a future with the team. Best case, you get a first round pick for that $3.8 price tag in a league where $10 million is the going rate.

Danny Ainge has his warts, but he's proving (again) to be extremely crafty at breaking down a roster and then building it back up. This deal gives Boston more assets to use in trades, or to use to build their team going forward.

It should also serve as a warning to Bass, Green and Kris Humphries not to get too comfortable. Ainge is two deals deep, and is nowhere near done.

P.S. If any of these picks are at any point used as a sweetener for a team to take Gerald Wallace off the Celtics' hands the new grade for this trade is an A-infinity-+.


Trade: Crawford and Brooks to Warriors, Anthony and picks to Boston

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