With the much-anticipated trade deadline, many NBA fans were expecting major deals to go in effect, besides the Cousins blockbuster trade that sent him to New Orleans. The team that went into the deadline wanting a superstar, wanting a player that would change the dynamic of their current roster, and their future, the team that wanted to win NOW was, the Boston Celtics.
The Celtics had and still do have lots of assets, and that is why NBA fans and NBA executives thought that the Celtics were going to have a field day at the trade deadline. But that wasn’t the case, as the Boston Celtics remained neutral, and held on to those assets for the future. What are these “assets” the Celtics have? Well, the most valuable assets the Celtics have consisted of players and draft picks.
For their picks:
2017 Brooklyn Nets first-round pick
It all started back when Celtics GM Danny Ainge traded away Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. At the time, the Nets were in a “win now” demand from their GM and Danny Ainge found the opportunity to start the rebuilding process by thinking about the Celtics future. In the blockbuster deal that traded away PP and KG, the Celtics acquired this pick. PP and KG did great with the Nets, but it wasn’t great enough to get Brooklyn their first NBA Championship. Eventually, Paul Pierce decided to go with Washington and KG back home to Minnesota.
It wasn’t long for the Nets to go back down where they were in the beginning. The Nets by far are the worst team in the NBA, meaning for the Celtics, you’re virtually guaranteed the best shot at the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft, which is set to be LOADED, consisting of Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball. With the new rule in the NBA, the Celtics can now protect the Nets pick in trades, but the 2017 draft is deep enough outside Fultz and Ball to make this one of the most valuable assets in the NBA.
2018 Brooklyn Nets first-round pick
The Nets are not getting better any time soon. Even though there is an uncertainty in the 2018 draft, this pick also is unprotected, and an opportunity to land the No.1 overall pick in any draft is something every team wants. If the Celtics want to land a superstar they can include this pick in the deal along with the 2017 pick easily.
For the players:
A versatile 20-year-old swingman who’s used his extended minutes this season to flash some serious potential. Brown is the 3rd overall pick in the 2016 draft, but if the trade target is good enough, Ainge will include Brown in a potential package deal.
Crowder comes at an excellent value, he is currently locked in until 2020 with an average salary of just $7M per year that is a bargain for a starting swingman averaging 13.8 PPG and 5.2 RPG.
Bradley is the Celtics best pure scorer besides Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford. He is also one of the NBAs best defensive players, with being on the All-NBA 1st in Defense in 2016.
Smart, a strong defender, passer, and a great worker at just 22 years old. Smart is proving to be one of the Celtics best defenders right now, right behind Avery Bradley.
Coming into the trade deadline, the Celtics were either going to land the Pacers superstar Paul George, or the Bulls franchise player in Jimmy Butler. Danny Ainge and his front office team were determined to acquire either one of those players before the 3 PM EST trade deadline this passed Thursday. Celtics fans were very confident that Ainge was going to strike a deal and get another star on the Celtic team, especially after Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas tweeted an emoji, the same emoji that he tweeted hours before the Celtics signed Al Horford this past offseason. But that wasn’t the case.
The Celtics came into the trade deadline with the golden ticket and walked right back out with it. From multiple sources, the Indiana Pacers were asking a boat load from the Celtics if the Celtics wanted George. The Pacers were asking for 3 of the 4 players in the group of Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, and Jaylen Brown along with the 2017 Nets pick. The Celtics pulled out of the Paul George deal because the Pacers were just simply asking for too much, which is understandable because it would have required trading away a pick that could be the No.1 overall in a LOADED draft plus a chunk of the Celtics core.
When it came down to Jimmy Butler going to Boston, the trade talk quickly went into thin air. There were league sources all over Boston and Chicago stating that the Celtics were never going to trade away the 2017 Nets pick for Butler. Without the Nets pick, it was easy for Chicago to say “no” to Boston. Ainge and the front office were determined to find a way to get Butler to Boston. The two sides exchanged a bunch of proposals, but Boston couldn’t find a package deal that left both its present and its future in a place that felt comfortable.
Just because the Celtics didn’t add another star to their roster, it doesn’t mean the Celtics are done making deals. Expect the Celtics to start the trade talk at this upcoming NBA Draft, with them potentially holding the No.1 overall pick, the Celtics do not need another rookie to come to their roster and develop, the Celtics have tons of assets and plus assets overseas, which are expected to play for the Celtics next season. One of them being C Ante Zizic, who has been playing very well overseas and who also announced recently that he will be playing for the Celtics for the upcoming 17-18 season. There also had been some talk about if Zizic were to enter the 2017 NBA Draft that he would have been easily a top-10 pick. With the many assets, the Celtics will try to trade the Nets pick away along with a package deal to acquire their desired star.
Without adding a star in Paul George or Jimmy Butler, the Celtics will continue to rely on 2x All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas to carry most of the Celtics scoring. Thomas ranks 2nd in the NBA with 29.9 PPG right behind Russell Westbrook. Al Horford is a quality player, Marcus Smart and Jae Crowder aren’t afraid to take big shots. Make no mistake, the Celtics can compete for an Eastern Conference title with their current roster, with them currently being in the 2nd seed behind Cleveland, and also the Celtics haven’t been healthy all year. With Avery Bradley being out for most of the first half of the season, he is set to return to the rotation after the all-star break, and make an impact, especially on the defensive end.