The faulty logic of the Celtics playing the vets to improve their trade value

We have the same trade value, whether you play us or not. None.

With the news that James Young will go back to being inactive tonight due to the return of Marcus Thornton, many Celtics fans are wondering why the team's young players are missing out on opportunities at the expense of the short term vets. Whereas other rebuilding teams are playing their young guys and buying out or trading their vets, the Celtics for the 2nd straight year appear more interested in playing their veterans. The argument for this goes, "We need to play so and so, so that we can build up his trade value." I find this faulty logic.

If you haven't noticed, Danny Ainge hasn't exactly set the world on fire with the assets obtained by playing bit players who have no long term future with the Celtics. And rest assured that Danny and Coach Stevens talk regularly about the direction of the team and who will be active or not. Last season, Danny wanted Courtney Lee gone (presumably so he could overpay Avery Bradley), and Lee was lighting it up for the Celtics during the early season. Ainge obtained the expiring contract of Jerryd Bayless. So basically nothing. Then Jordan Crawford was showcased for months. He won a bunch of games for the Celtics, which actually had the negative effect of hurting our draft position. He would be traded for two second rounders, but that was ONLY because the Celtics took on future money in Joel Anthony. The Heat (the team who gave up the picks) didn't get Crawford. The picks were included as the price of unloading Joseph. So for the months of showcasing Crawford, again the Celtics received nothing. According to the sports betting pundits at, the Celtics are heavily favored to not make the playoffs. Unfortunately with the current rules of the NBA, when you're rebuilding just being in the lottery isn't good enough.

Same thing goes for me
At the power forward position last season Brandon Bass continued to receive heavy playing time (He had a solid season, which accomplished nothing for the team, but hurting our draft position). Even this year as an expiring contract, no one has been willing to give up anything to trade for him. The Celtics decided not to buy out Kris Humphries last season. He played well when given minutes. No team ever came calling for his expiring contract.

This year it's the same story with Marcus Thornton, Jameer Nelson, Brandon Bass, Brandan Wright, and even Jeff Green. The Celtics were only able to get one lousy late protected first for Rajon Rondo. Danny isn't going to get a 1st for Jeff Green. Maybe a different GM would be able to, as witnessed by the Nuggets snagging two first rounders for Timofey Mozgov today, but honestly how often does Ainge end up on the winning end of opportunistic deals like that? The guys we want to trade/need to trade for rebuilding never really bring in much. If Bass or Thornton could bring in a 2nd rounder they'd be gone already. My guess is the only teams offering 2nd rounders for these guys are teams trying to unload longer team deals (like the Heat did with Anthony last season).

So don't worry about playing guys to build up their trade values. The only players on the team with trade value are the young guys that we want to keep. Play the players who have a future with the team. Every Brandon Bass minute is a minute that should have gone to Kelly Olynyk. Every Marcus Thronton minute is one that should go to James Young. Every Jameer Nelson minute should go to Marcus Smart learning the point. Bass, Nelson, Thornton, and the vets might all be consummate pros, but the idea of having to play them to trade them is foolhardy. They have no trade value, whether you play them or not. If anything the minor 2nd rounders you could conceivably hope for (and most likely never get) are not only off-set, but worse than the drop in draft position that comes with playing the vets and trying to win a few more games. Rondo is gone. Time to 100% embrace a full rebuild. Play the youth.