Rival executives say the rebuilding Celtics could be among the busiest teams at the trade deadline, at least in terms of phone calls logged. Boston would be willing to make a deal for just about any player on the roster, though there are no plans to trade point guard Rajon Rondo without an overwhelming offer. There has been discussion about Jeff Green, too, but his contract (two more years at $19 million total) makes him difficult to move.
But Bass’ manageable contract and ability to chip in for a contender makes him the most likely Celtic to be shipped out by next Thursday, and the group of teams that has expressed interest in Bass is, “a pretty wide range,” according to a league source.
Bass being the odd man out in Boston is not really news, as Sunday four out of the seven Celtics Life writers polled said Bass was next to be shipped out. Now, thanks to Deveney's piece, we have a better idea of what the Celtics could get in return for Bass as the trade deadline rapidly approaches.
Deveney discussed three teams that are hot for Bass: the Golden State Warriors, the Charlotte Bobcats and the Phoenix Suns.
For Golden State:
Among the teams interested in Bass, sources told Sporting News, are the Warriors, who still have trade exceptions from the summer deal that sent Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins to Utah. Backup forward Marreese Speights has been a disappointment this season, averaging 5.7 points on just 40.8 percent shooting, and the team misses the production it got from Carl Landry off the bench last year.
The Warriors don’t have a pick in this year’s draft to offer Boston, but could absorb his contract and do have a combination of young players that includes injured center Festus Ezeli, as well as rookies Nemanja Nedovic and Ognjen Kuzmic.
None of the young guys Golden State could offer really jump out at you, which is to be expected when a team is trading away a role player to shed salary. Having the Warriors straight up absorb Bass' contract with the trade exception seems pretty tempting and maybe Golden State could throw in a future second round pick for good measure. Deveney goes on to say a deal for Bass may push Golden State into the luxury tax, but the owner is willing to live with that if the team is winning.
Golden State could build a package around Speights and the rookies to land Bass, but Speights is owed $3.66 million next season so the Celtics would only save around $3 million next year, making the trade less beneficial for Boston. A trade constructed like that would surely have to include a future pick or two from the Warriors to make it enticing to Boston.
Also potentially in the mix for Bass are the Bobcats, who are desperate to add depth at power forward as they attempt to make a run to just their second playoff berth in franchise history. Charlotte owes its own draft pick to Chicago, if it winds up landing outside the Top 10, but does have Detroit’s pick, if it lands outside the Top 8.
The Bobcats own Portland’s pick, which will wind up late in the first round because of the way Portland has played, and that’s the pick that would most likely wind up with Boston in a Bass deal.
This sounds like a great deal. Boston turns a guy they don't need into another first round pick in a loaded draft, end of the first round or not. Charlotte could send Raymond Sessions' expiring $5 million deal to Boston to make the salaries match, or the Bobcats could send Ben Gordon and his $13 million expiring deal for Bass and Keith Bogans, who has a $5 million non-guaranteed contract of his own. Boston could also take back a package of under performing young players like Cody Zeller and Jeff Taylor. Even though the young guys would be on long-term deals, I'm sure Danny Ainge wouldn't mind taking money back in a deal if it means netting another coveted first round pick.
Deveney finishes off the piece by saying Phoenix is another team to watch, as they've been looking to add a big man and may settle for Bass if they can't land a better big like Pau Gasol or Zach Randolph. Phoenix has plenty of picks in this draft, and could offer the Pacers' first rounder, which they got in the Louis Scola deal, for Bass. Again, Ainge would happily swap Bass for a first rounder in his eternal quest for assets.
Call it a hunch, but any deal for Bass is probably going to come down to the wire in a deadline day move. Teams are going to exhaust all other options before giving up real assets for Bass, a guy who could start, but is probably best served playing off the bench for a contender. Even if all those teams said to be interested change their minds and Bass remains a Celtic the rest of the year, he'd still remain a nice trade chip for Boston in the summer, as he'd only have one year left on his deal and would still be young enough and skilled enough to have real value on the court.
Bottom line: Bass is gone. Now, it's only a matter of when and for what.