Before the start of the regular season on October 28th, the Boston Celtics need to get rid of at least one guaranteed contract. As reported by Steve Bullpett of the Boston Herald, the Celtics will first look at what they’ve done best over the past two years-- mine for gold.
"[The Celtics] will explore trade possibilities that, if they come to fruition, could alleviate their roster crunch through other means."
Given his track record, you have to assume Danny Ainge will sniff out a trade which is preferable to just cutting his losses. The biggest question is who?
CELTICS TRADE RUMOR MULTIPLE CHOICE
Q: The 2015-16 Boston Celtics must reduce their roster to 15 guaranteed contracts. If a trade is to happen, what players will be on their way out of Boston? Is it…
A. Perry Jones III. After a lackluster preseason that included two DNPs, Jones has been rumored to be cut for weeks. Jones was traded from OKC to the Boston in a package that included a 2019 second round pick and cash considerations to the Celtics which created a trade exception for the Thunder.
If the question was “Who Is Most Likely to be Cut” Jones looks like the obvious choice. As Trader Danny is looking to first live up to his name, there is probably a bigger chip on the table that could be in play.
B. James Young. In 2014, the Boston Celtics drafted James Young with the 17th overall pick. As a young standout at Kentucky, Young’s most prominent features are his offensive and ability to add points in bunches-- or at least the promise of such. From day one, James was going to be a project and spent a good portion of the 2014-15 campaign in Maine with the Boston D-League affiliate.
The question from last season which has resurfaced during the preseason is “when is James Young going to break out?” The potential to be a solid contributor is there, but for each flash of offensive prowess that Young has shown he has had just as many setbacks.
With the addition of RJ Hunter, another project with tremendous offensive upside, James may have the most value in the form of a trade asset.
C. Jared Sullinger. Of all the Celtics mentioned, Sullinger has the greatest trade value. He is on the last year of his rookie deal, he is a proven contributor on offense and defense, and a ton of upside. More so than any other Celtic, he could be plugged into another system and contribute at a similar level.
He’s big, strong, capable, surprisingly agile, and wants to win, but something about Jared Sullinger doesn’t pass the eye test. Is he frustrated? Does he want to be in Boston? Does he hate the ambiguity of not having an extension in place? Is he unhappy with the logjam in the front court?
I look at Jared Sullinger the same way parents look in anti-drug commercials-- I’m examining his behavior and looking concerned. I don’t know what is bothering him… but I am sure something is. I doubt I’m the only one thinking this way.
D. A combination of all of the above. Always a possibility with this administration. Sully and PJ3 for a collection of second rounders? Sully and Young for an asset? All three for a combo of picks, cash, and an expiring contract just waiting to be cut? Would it surprise you at all if you checked Twitter later on today to see all three guys had been packaged and sent out west for the rights to an international player?
E. Something we haven’t even considered. Ding da-ding ding ding. We all speculate because speculation is fun, but it’s more likely that Danny Ainge is working on something no one has even considered.
The only thing that makes me think he’ll begrudgingly just cut someone is because it’s floating out there that he’ll look to make a trade. The last time he said he wasn’t anticipating making any moves, I looked away from my phone for 10 minutes and he traded for Isaiah Thomas.
With the just seven days to go until the Celtics season begins, there is one move left to be made, and Danny Ainge is going to make it.
Or two. Or three. Or four.
Follow Padraic O'Connor on Twitter @padraic_oconnor