Another trade deadline has come and gone, and same with the hopes of a blockbuster trade for the Boston Celtics. Every year at the trade deadline the Celtics are mentioned in trade rumors revolving around some of the NBA’s biggest stars, and nothing ever happens. The most memorable trade came two years ago for Isaiah Thomas, but at the time nobody knew what he would become for this team. Names like Jimmy Butler and Paul George were thrown around, but ultimately nothing came to fruition. Not getting a superstar wasn’t a shocker, but not making any trades at all was a bit shocking to some Celtics’ fans. Danny Ainge likes the team we have now and felt we didn’t need any new additions to the team, which some fans would argue against since our Eastern Conference rivals made some moves this past week. The Celtics didn’t want to take a chance right now to get a star that may or may not help us contend this year, but it was a risky move. Standing pat may assist us in the long run, but it also may hurt the C’s badly. Here are the risks and rewards of the Celtics standing pat at the trade deadline.
We all know how much Danny covets all the future first-round picks the Celtics own. Those Brooklyn picks are the C’s most valuable assets and were the focal point of any trade discussion involving a superstar at the deadline. Danny Ainge decided to hold onto the pick(s), or some may say, our future, and will wait to see what it becomes down the line. Brooklyn will most likely finish with the worst record in the league, but that doesn’t mean it will become the first overall pick in the draft. It’s more unlikely than likely that the team with the best odds to get the number one pick actually get it. The risk that comes from not trading the pick at the deadline is it may lose its value if it drops. What if the Celtics come out of the lottery with the 4th or 5th overall pick? The option to make a fair trade for a superstar at that point is thrown out the window. Back in 2007 when the Celtics were projected to draft either Greg Oden or Kevin Durant, their pick fell to number five. That pick would ultimately be used in a trade package for Ray Allen, and as they say, the rest is history, but that example shows how the lottery can work. Danny must have a lot of faith in the ping pong balls rolling in our favor this year because they haven’t in the past.
Isaiah and Horford aren’t getting any younger in case you guys didn’t know. The window to make a championship run is getting smaller and smaller. With the team Boston has now, it is unlikely we’ll be raising banner number 18 at the beginning of next season. At the end of the day, the Celtics need another superstar to put next to Isaiah to make this team legit championship contenders. The Celtics can’t ride Isaiah’s high scoring and fourth quarter magic all the way to the promised land. They need to put guys around Isaiah that can compete with LeBron and the Cavs and KD and the Warriors. If we didn’t get another star at the deadline, when will we? Like I said, the window is closing, and although Isaiah’s best years are still ahead of him, we only have a limited amount of time to take advantage of those years.
Trading for a superstar wasn’t the biggest priority for the Celtics at the deadline, it was filling the holes that this team has. Rebounding and shot blocking are our biggest weaknesses and we had a chance to improve both at the deadline by making smaller trades. But just like trading for a superstar, it didn’t happen. The team has gotten better in the rebounding category during our hot streak the past month or so, but once the playoffs begin those weaknesses may get exposed. This was a time to fix those weaknesses, especially since our Eastern Conference rivals made small trades to fix some of their weaknesses. The Raptors got a power forward they desperately needed in Serge Ibaka and a hard-nosed defender in PJ Tucker. The Wizards added more depth and shooting in Bojan Bogdanovic. The Celtics stuck with the team they have, and that may hurt them when going up against these new and improved teams that Boston should’ve been scared of already.
That Nets’ draft pick is projected to go first overall. The Celtics have the best odds of getting the first overall pick, so what if we actually do get the first pick? Well, spoiler alert, Danny’s phone will be ringing like crazy from the draft lottery all the way up to draft night. If that pick becomes the first overall pick, it will become far more valuable than it is right now. I feel teams wanted more than what the Celtics were offering because that pick could definitely fall as I mentioned before. Now that team will be stuck without a star and with a pick where the player they wanted to draft is already gone. Of course, the Celtics can always use that pick to draft somebody too. Personally, I’d rather trade the pick for an established star, but if Danny is thinking long term, he may envision Markelle Fultz or Lonzo Ball in Celtics’ green for a very long time.
By not trading for a superstar, the Celtics saved their money for either free agency or to attempt to make another trade during draft time. This allowed the Celtics to not only land a top selection in the draft but potentially sign a big name free agent like Gordon Hayward or Blake Griffin. Hypothetical of course, but Danny was thinking, why trade for a guy like Jimmy Butler when a similar player in Gordon Hayward will be available this summer, and we won’t have to give up anything for him? If the Celtics got someone like Paul George or Jimmy Butler, they wouldn’t have much money to work with in free agency. Maybe Danny wanted a little room to work with this summer.
At the end of the day, there was going to be risks in whatever the Celtics did at the deadline, trade or not. What if we traded for Paul George and he walked in free agency next year? We’d be left with no star and without our future assets. We could’ve traded for a Jimmy Butler, but what if him and Isaiah couldn’t coexist? Who’s to think that just because they’re both superstars means they’d work well together. Also just because we get a big name like George or Butler doesn’t mean we can beat the Cavs or Warriors. It’d certainly help depending on who’d we give up, but it may not be enough. Danny viewed these trades as short term deals. He made no deals because he’s thinking long term. Trading for guys that would fill the holes we have would only be short term and could mess up the team’s style of play and chemistry going into the playoffs. Danny wants to win now, like the rest of us but wants to keep our future intact. Who knows what’ll happen come summer time, but Boston fans better keep their fingers crossed that that pick becomes the number one pick, because if not, it may stall our championship parade plans for a few more years.