With the NBA Free Agency period coming to a close, it’s time to look at the Boston Celtics and determine what to do with the roster, or at least what can be done by the trade deadline.
First. let’s get the elephant out of the room. Rajon Rondo isn’t going to be dealt unless Danny Ainge sees a deal that blows his mind. Some rumblings on the interweb have the New York Knicks giving Boston Amar’e Stoudemire‘s expiring deal, Andrea Bargnani‘s expiring contract, Iman Shumpert and a pick for Rondo, but this would only be discussed much closer to the deadline I would imagine.
But today we see a Celtics roster that has 18 players for 15 spots, and some intriguing young prospects who should feel very confident in their roster sports. Two players who may not feel so good about their condos in Boston? Chris Babb and Chris Johnson. Both players have non-guaranteed deals and could be preseason cuts to help the C’s get closer to the luxury-tax line. Keith Bogans is another possibility, but Boston doesn’t need to get to that tax line until the end of the regular season.
Assuming we don’t see those three deals let go, which I don’t think they will be, Ainge is going to have to make some sort of trade by the trade deadline this season. By this point, a lot of rosters will have meshed together and there could be an idea of what the playoff-picture will look like.
Enter Brandon Bass, Boston’s most useful asset to a contending playoff team. Some may say Jeff Green, but Bass makes nearly $2.5 million less than Green this year, which could make it more cost-effect for a team like Houston to reach out and grab him. In addition, Green still has a player-option for the following season, while Bass is done after this year.
It may be time to realize that no one is taking on Gerald Wallace‘s contract this year unless it is in a Rondo-type deal. That leaves Joel Anthony and Marcus Thornton as moveable pieces. Notice I didn’t call them assets because frankly, any team trading for these guys at the deadline are in desperation mode.
Knowing how Ainge has acted in recent years, I would be surprised if he went the route of getting under the tax line before the season started by cutting Bogans, Johnson, and Babb. A package like Bass and Thornton to the Rockets for picks or to Memphis for Kosta Koufos/Tayshaun Prince and picks could be a possibility, but until the NBA season begins, look for Ainge to rotate the roster’s bottom five or six players between Boston and Maine.