CelticsLife Mailbag: What else does Danny Ainge have up his sleeve?

With the Celtics' off-season seemingly dying down (or maybe it just never got started?), I figured it would be a good time to answer a few twitter questions from the readers. More of a tweet-bag than a mailbag, but tweet-bag hasn't quite become a mainstream phrase yet, so I'm sticking with mailbag.

Thanks to everyone who wrote in.

Rondo related questions

Nobody knows exactly what Danny Ainge has in mind, but here's my best guess (somewhat paraphrasing from what I said yesterday): Ainge and the Celtics are completely open-minded about Rondo's future in Boston, and have no interest in being forced one way or the other to make a decision right now. I think that if a team suddenly offered Ainge a godfather type offer for Rondo (let's say something similar to what the Nets gave up for Deron Williams in 2011), he'd jump all over it. But that's extremely unlikely to happen considering the lack of teams in the league that: A. need a point guard, B. have the assets necessary to make an offer like that, and C. are a good enough franchise that Rondo would re-sign with them. In fact, I see zero such teams at the moment.

And with that in mind, Ainge is not in any position where he feels like he needs to sell Rondo for pennies on the dollar. If the current offers are crap, why not hold on to him, let him prove he's completely 100% after the ACL injury, and see how the market develops by the trade deadline? By then we also may know more about Marcus Smart, not to mention the rest of the young talent on the Celtics. If the group gels with Rondo, that may also provide more incentive to keep him around past this upcoming season, and in that case I could definitely see Rondo attempting to recruit another star to play with him and the young guys come 2015, when the Cs should have a bunch of cap space.

Trade stuff

First things first, the Love deal isn't happening. The Celtics have said as much, saying that they've "moved on" in the same way you move on from asking a smoking hot girl out after she rejects you ten times and files a restraining order. The Celtics do have a really strong set of assets, but unfortunately the Timberwolves are run by Flip Saunders, a man desperate to prove himself as a coach in the NBA. He wants NBA ready talent, not draft picks, and the Celts just can't make that happen.

With that out of the way, the most logical target beyond Love that is currently on the market is Greg Monroe. The Pistons and Monroe have yet to reach agreement, and there is some thought that Monroe may just sign his qualifying offer and hit unrestricted free agency next summer. If that happens the Pistons may very well trade him, and he'd be a really nice target for the Celtics.

Beyond Monroe I think we're looking at the Summer of 2015 and free agency. I've laid it out many times, but if the Celtics can simply move Jeff Green (or he declines his player option for 2015-16) and use the stretch provision on Gerald Wallace, they'll have approximately $35 million in cap space next summer AFTER signing their two 2015 first round picks. That's a ton of cash, plenty enough to re-sign Rondo and make a run at an elite big man. Some names to keep in mind (I know some of these are extreme long shots, but I'm just listing the best of the best): Love, Monroe, LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre Jordan, Brook Lopez, Marc Gasol, Omer Asik, Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson, Tyson Chandler, Kenneth Faried, Roy Hibbert and Enes Kanter. Now I know that Boston has never been a destination for major free agents, but I also can't remember them ever having that much cap space during a summer with this much available talent. At this point I feel comfortable in saying that if the Celtics keep Rondo around long term, one of the guys I just listed will be joining him (hopefully one of the better ones).

Instead of re-writing what I wrote, here is the link to my "most likely to be traded" column from yesterday. C'mon Brent, you're better than this.

Trying to concoct three-team deals in the trade machine is incredibly difficult (mostly because of all the restrictions on trading recently drafted players), but the Cavs are reportedly trying to get a third team involved to try and make the financials of a potential Love deal work. For the Celtics to get involved, they would likely give up Keith Bogans (and his non-gauranteed contract) and receive back one of the Wolves unwanted contracts (either JJ Barea or Kevin Martin).

The question is, what would the Celtics get back in return? The two options seem to be Gorgui Dieng or a first round pick.

Well if it's Dieng, this deal works (note: Wiggins is not eligible to be dealt for 30 days, so I subbed in Tristan Thompson, whose salary is nearly identical. Wiggins would be the actual one going to Minny).

The Cs take on Barea and get Dieng (who was very solid in the second half last season) as a prize.

Only problem? I can't see Minnesota giving up their promising young big with Love, especially if dumping Barea (who only has one-year remaining on his deal) is the only additional thing they gain.

If it were Martin and his three-year deal I could possibly see it. But would the Celtics really take on three years of Martin? Doubtful.

Plus, while the Celtics would love to get another asset basically for nothing (like they did with the Zeller/Thornton trade), other teams will be lining up to do the same. Especially teams like Philly that are below the cap and need to take on salary to reach the NBA mandated cap floor.

So it's possible that Ainge could make something work, but I think it's going to be tough.

I think that Ainge will work to move Brandon Bass and Jeff Green, as neither has a long-term future with the team. But in terms of major deals..I think we'll have to wait until next summer. The more time that goes by, the closer we get to 2015 where the Cs will have seven former first round picks still under their rookie contracts, the inside track to re-signing Rondo, a bunch of cap space, and (at least) six first round picks between 2016-2018. I'm not saying they will be anything close to a title contender next summer, but I do think they'll be a young, exciting team with (potentially) two All-Stars on their roster.

So, yea I think Danny has more up his sleeve. Just not right now.

Roster questions

The Celtics biggest need entering this summer was a center, and here we are in late July, and they really don't have one. Tyler Zeller at least is young and seven-feet, so I'm sure he'll get plenty of run, but yea, there's not much to get excited about down low. I just hope they keep Sully and Olynyk away from playing center whenever possible, even if that means Vitor and Joel Anthony play more. Let the power forwards develop at power forward, don't hurt their confidence by playing them inside.

It's important to remember that while Young is, for lack of a better word, young, he also played a pivotal role on a Kentucky team that went to the NCAA title game last season, so he's not your typical 19-year-old. But with the roster currently overcrowded at both the 2 and 3, Young may be headed to the D-League to start the season. At the moment Green, Gerald Wallace and Evan Turner are all likely ahead of Young, and both Wallace and Turner are locks to still be here on opening night.

But I do think that Young will eventually crack the rotation this year. He has an ability to create his own shot that is missing elsewhere on the roster, and it's important that the Cs give him some development time during what should be another poor season.

What better way to close out the mailbag than by sharing my thoughts on Wallace. Here they are.

I think he stinks at basketball. I think he whines too much. I think he's the most overpaid player in the league. I think he sounds like Barry White. I think that he'll lose another half-step following knee surgery (this on top of the six or so steps he's already lost). And most importantly, I think he's here until at least next summer.

I'd like to think that by next summer the Cs either move him with a pick, or use the stretch provision on him to free up that cap space, although I am trying not to get my hopes up about that yet.

But yea, prepare yourself for season two of the Crash era. He's not going anywhere.

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