Could the Celtics look any more done than they have this season? Granted, a compressed schedule is toughest on an aging team, but the Boston Celtics look truly finished. This is not a team that will go anywhere in the playoffs and may even miss them. The big three era is over.
It was a great gamble Danny Ainge took to put the team together, a successful gamble. He won a ring, but come trade deadline, he'd be wise to shop everyone on the roster to try and build the Celtics back in the future. Pierce, Allen, Garnett? They may all be available if the Celtics are looking like they have 6th seed upside.
Could the Bulls, hoping to win now, make use of any of these players? What would they pay to get them?
Garnett for Boozer
It's an interesting idea. Garnett's numbers are far less than Boozer's, but he plays defense and doesn't waste possessions like Boozer does. Thibodeau would likely trust Garnett implicitly in the fourth quarter, and he wouldn't try and play in the same space Joakim would likely to occupy.
For the Celtics, you could argue that at this stage in his career, Boozer's the better player. He'd also might fit in better with Rondo than Rose is Rondo is more of a passer than a scorer. A Rondo/Boozer pick and roll likely doesn't lead to titles, but it likely leads to something better than a Rondo and ??? pick and roll.
The big problem with Boozer, of course, is the contract. A problem magnified by the Celtics 20 million in cap room next year that would disappear with this trade. Cap room tends to lead to bad contracts anyway, so the fear might not be as bad as it looks. Boozer would only be on the hook for three more seasons after the trade.
That said, both sides probably say no to the deal. Boston for salary reasons, and Chicago because the trade doesn't improve them long term since they can always get away from Boozer's salary numbers with the amnesty clause anyway.
Something for Paul Pierce
It's hard to imagine what something could be outside of Luol Deng, and quite frankly, I'll take Luol Deng over Paul Pierce at this stage of his career. Maybe you can argue that Pierce is a better player right now, but it'd be tough to convince me of it, and if it's not Luol Deng that goes for him then how the hell do you play Pierce and Deng at the same time?
This one simply won't work.
Now the most interesting option...
Korver + Brewer + Charlotte pick for Ray Allen
If the Celtics blow it up, Ray Allen is a nice complement to the roster. The Celtics will be 20 million under the cap next year and strike me as unlikely to take on any non expiring contracts in trade. They may have Dwight Howard dreams, however unrealistic they are [much like ours].
Would the Charlotte pick be enough of an incentive to convince the Celtics to forgo another run at in the playoffs this year? If they're bad enough at the trade deadline then possibly. Could the Bulls even pull it off with just their own first rounder instead? Not likely unless the Celtics are way out of the playoff hunt and even then they probably can get more elsewhere.
Replacing Korver/Brewer with Allen would leave the Bulls with a lack of fresh legs and depth at the SG/SF positions. The Bulls could run more C.J. Watson as a two guard if there are injuries and increase Jimmy Butler's role on the team as well if needed.
They'd be considerably weakened defensively without Brewer, and when measuring against Miami you have to weigh Allen's offense against Brewer's defense on both LeBron and Wade. Tough call there.
However, the offensive improvement would be vast. It'd be like having a far better version of Kyle Korver on the floor for far more minutes. If the Bulls went small with a Rose, Rip, Allen, Deng, Noah lineup, they'd have Rose playing alongside three of the best off the ball players in the NBA.
They'd finally have a dangerous shooter they could play 30 minutes a night without fear that he'd get criminally abused on defense.
However, there are problems as well. First off, notice the trend of superstars who've left their team after they've sold out the future and failed to win now. The Bulls should be cognizant of not adding Derrick Rose to that list, and for those who think he'd never leave, Cleveland said the same of LeBron.
Rose was too depressed to move after losing to Miami last year in the ECF. If he doesn't win a championship in the next five years then I think he'll do just about anything, including leaving Chicago, to get one.
Furthermore, how well do Hamilton and Allen really fit together? You're probably not going to play the two together too much, and both are probably looking for more minutes than are really available at the SG position. Plus, if Hamilton continues to struggle with injuries, the team doesn't have much depth to compensate with anymore after we did a two for one trade to get Allen.
It's not a no-brainer for either side of the table. The Celtics may not win a championship with Allen again, but they may be giving up 5-10 million dollars in playoff revenue by jettisoning him from the team. A costly price to pay for a future first that has no guarantees of becoming a great pick and may not come due for a few years.
The Bulls, on the other hand, will lose defensively at the most important position to beat their rival and will need to find a way to make the roster fit work as well as give up on one of the assets that could help them restock with cheap talent in a few years.
In the end, I make this deal if I'm Chicago, would they? Would Boston?