Will Celtics Danny Ainge trade or play the buyout game?
Celtics head-of-operations Danny Ainge still feels that, despite the important addition of Greg Monroe, his team still needs one more addition. He has four more days in which to work a trade, and the names of Lou Williams and Tyreke Evans are constantly in the forefront. A major trade for the likes of Anthony Davis or Kawhi Leonard is always a possibility, albeit a very unlikely one at this point in time.
Ainge could very well sit pat and not get involved in a trade. He could opt instead to play the buyout game. Teams that have little chance to make the playoffs could choose to buyout veterans and therefore get a better chance at a higher draft pick. Contending teams simply have to wait for the buyouts to occur and swoop in to grab the waived player. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Warriors did just that. Here is ESPN's Zach Lowe on the subject:
The NBA's rigged buyout game
Perception is worse than reality, but this sure feels like a rigged game, doesn't it? The Raptors trade real stuff for Serge Ibaka, while LeBron and the Warriors wait around to nab their pick of the buyout crew for free. The process agitates the other 28 teams. (So does The Process, but that's a different conversation. Get well, Joel!)
In February of 2017, Cleveland signed both Andrew Bogut and Deron William after they were bought out by their respective teams. Bogut played less than a minute in his Cleveland debut and suffered a season-ending injury. Williams played 20 games with Cleveland but had little impact in the playoffs. Golden State signed Jose Calderon after his buyout during the same period.
Particularly with the addition of Greg Monroe, Boston is now a very-much preferred destination for waived vets looking for a ring. Any such player would need to be waived by his present team prior to March 1st and signed by the Celtics prior to the end of the regular season. For Boston, any such player does not need to be a game-changer. A seasoned veteran, preferably one that has been tested in previous playoff competition, that can provide much-needed scoring and ball distribution would fit nicely.
Beyond taking advantage of a buyout or working a trade, Danny does have a third option. I firmly believe that he still feels his team is not currently constructed to take out the Warriors in the Finals, should Boston get to that level. But his third option is the possible return of Gordon Hayward to action prior to the playoffs. We will have a bit more information on that later this month. Until then, I am waiting to see what happens with the Tyreke Evans sweepstakes.