Thursday, August 02, 2007

Salvage Trades

As discussed below, Boston is not using free agency wisely. There is still hope of stealing a marooned free agent on the cheap or bringing in some bodies via buyouts (Troy Hudson?), but the best shot at picking up at least one more decent player in Boston is probably with a trade. The problem? They have no contracts. They've got three guys making $55 million and that's pretty much it. Kendrick Perkins makes $4.4, but they need him to log minutes at the 5 (by the way, everyone trashes Perkins, but I think he's pretty decent - at the very least he can do what Diop does in Dallas, right?). Rondo makes over a million, but he's their point guard of the future, err, present. Then they've got a bunch of loose change. It's really amazing to look at the salaries on this roster.

The only player with a salary meaty enough to move is Brian Scalabrine, but that is only because Ainge made the moronic decision to pay the guy $3 million per. Hard to imagine anyone wanting this stiff.

That said, trying to trade Scalabrine + one is probably Boston's only hope. Here are some possible deals that could help, all of them stretches (because that is the hand Ainge and Co. just dealt themselves):

(Note: for the players I thought Boston should have targeted via free agency, see this previous post.]

1. Scalabrine ($3MM) to the Warriors for Jasikevicius ($4MM). Boston would have to add a contract - any contract - to this to get within 125% on each side, but this trade might work. Golden State has no use for the former Maryland Terrapin/Team USA destroyer so they might be willing to get rid of him and save a few bucks on Scalabrine, who could have some value in Oakland as a backup forward. This is basically a swap of crap for crap, except that Jasikevicius could really help Boston and be a nice compliment to Rondo off the bench. He's good enough that he shouldn't be doing his best Mateen Cleaves impression and waving towels on the end of the Warriors bench. If G-State doesn't want him, maybe Boston can steal him away.

(Speaking of Golden State, now that KG is no longer an option, what exactly is the master plan over there? I still contend that the Richardson-for-Wright trade was a good one, but it seemed like that was the first of a series of moves. Are they going after Yi? Are they so excited about Bellini that they are calling it a day? When will they decide between Barnes and Pietrus? I'll admit, the Warriors interest me greatly.)

2. Scalabrine and Tony Allen (total $4.9MM) to Houston for Rafer Alston and Steve Novak (total $5.2MM). The Rockets are desperately trying to get rid of Rafer Alston and will probably see any successful attempt to do so as addition by subtraction. Plus, if Houston - who has added three point guards, Luis Scola, and tons of depth in the past two months - has one remaining weak spot it is the need for an athletic wing defender. With their depth, the Rockets can afford to gamble on Allen's return to health and they can absorb Scalabrine into the bench. Meanwhile, Boston gets a more experienced - if somewhat shaky - point guard to pair with Rondo and a much better shooter to bring off the bench in Novak. The loss of Allen - if healthy - would be tough to swallow, but the last thing this Jurassic team needs is another health concern. The addition of point guard depth and shooting makes it worth. Not to mention the fact that the Manuel signing would actually make some sense without Allen on the roster.

3. Scalabrine and Leon Powe (total $3.67MM) to Memphis for Damon Stoudemire ($4.3MM). This deal actually works for both teams and fits under the cap. If Boston believes Big Baby is ready to contribute then they have no need for Powe, since both are undersized power forwards. This allows the C's to include Powe with Scalabrine in an effort to tempt Memphis into giving up Stoudemire. It shouldn't be too hard. Mighty Mouse isn't in the Grizzlies' plans anymore and having Scalabrine rot on the bench won't be any different than having Damon rot on the bench. But the addition of Powe gives Memphis one more young player to add to a growing mix that includes Conley, Lowry, Gay, and Warrick, not to mention Mike Miller and Pau Gasol. As for the Celtics, they might not be getting a world-beater in Stoudemire, but he fills in all of Rondo's problem areas with scoring and experience and could really help their second unit. Plus, since Memphis recently waived Alexander Johnson, Boston could pick him up for cheap and it would be like getting two players back in the deal.

(By the way, Boston should right this minute be offering every bench player on its roster for Kyle Lowry. I doubt Memphis will trade him, but considering they drafted Conley instead of Horford, you never know.)

[Update: Clearly the California bar exam has fried my brain as Horford went #3 to the Hawks and Conley #4 to the Grizz, making my statement above impossible and idiotic. Still, drafting Conley one year after taking Lowry doesn't exactly scream "We love Kyle!" Maybe Boston could get him. I doubt it though.]

4. Future Pick to Portland for Jarrett Jack ($1.2MM). Boston doesn't have a lot of draft picks left to trade, but I don't know what else they can offer Portland that makes sense. Jack could really help Boston's bench and doesn't seem to have a place in Portland where Blake is the PG of now and Sergio Rodriguez is the PG of tomorrow. And the Blazers have so many players on the roster I can't imagine them wanting another asset in return. Maybe this could work. Also, Boston should keep an eye out for a Darius Miles buyout. He's a lunatic but they are officially in gambling mode anyway.

None of those trades are likely to happen, nor will any of them truly solve Boston's roster problems, but they might be the best chance the Celtics have of rounding out this team and competing for a spot in the Finals.


Raj said...

Horford went 3. Conley went 4. Memphis liked him a lot more than Noah, Yi, Green, Brewer, etc.

Marty said...

If the Blazers are planning to buy out Miles, why are they waiting? (And leaving fan-fave Ime Udoka in free agent limbo while they're at it.)
The hope 'round here is for Miles to take - and the league docs to approve - a medical retirement. Which would help the Celtics, actually, by keeping them from ingesting a known carcinogen.

Adam Hoff said...

Raj, I made that fix on the front page. I'm an idiot.

Marty, good call on Miles. That would be huge for the Blazers if they could get him to do that, although I have no idea why he would sacrifice those checks. As for the C's, I feel they have no choice but to take on guys like Miles (or Steve Francis, although that ship has sailed). The only way they can add any talent to that roster without spending money is to take the losers that other teams are so eager to get rid of that they will actually buy them out. Troy Hudson is out there and I expect others to join him - probably a few more Wolves, to be honest. Boston really needs to get lucky with a Tim Thomas situation though, because they really, really need one more player (at least).

This whole post was based on the idea that they would either be unable or unwilling to add that player(s) with the remaining $3.8MM on their exception. But I guess it is possible that they could still bring in some needed talent with that money.

I think this is shaping up to be the most interesting roster completion in recent memory. They have just a few bucks, they don't want to pay luxury dollars, and there are almost no trade pieces due to their depleted bench and meager contracts. It is going to be patchwork at best and possible even a smoke and mirrors situation. And honestly, it just shows such a lack of foresight on Ainge's part. If they weren't willing to spend the rest of their money on the needed 2-3 players, why trade for Allen and KG in the first place? It's incredible. I stand by statement in a previous post that Knight/Patterson/P.J. Brown for $6 mil (doable, I think) would have turned this into a 55-win team and the East favorite. Now? They are on injury away from missing the playoffs. It's insanity!

Anonymous said...

Kyle Lowry is going to be the most popular Grizzly in Memphis. He'll bring the defense and ability to get to the basket, and will be a feisty son-of-a-gun, but Mike Conley will be the maestro of the Grizzlies offense.

Conley and Lowry will hopefully be the Grizzlies tag-team at point for the next ten years.

There is no way the Grizz trade Kyle Lowry. He is the new Shane Battier... With funk.

Anonymous said...

And why would the Grizzlies want Brian Scalabine when Memphians are still angry about Brian Cardinal rotting on the bench.

At least Damon Stoudamire can be a mentor for the Bad Boys Mike/Lowry.

What is Scalabrine gonna do?

Adam Hoff said...

"What can Scalibrine do?" Honestly, I have no idea. All Boston can hope for is that someone likes a young guy enough to take back the pasty gangster with $9 million over three years left on his deal. I hope I never gave the impression that the former USC legend actually has value. Because he doesn't. At all. But if someone likes Powe at $675K, maybe they take Scales. If someone thinks Allen can make it back and give them a perimeter defender, maybe they take Scales. As I said in the post, these are all big time stretches. Which goes to show you how much trouble the C's are in.

I love the Mike/Lowry Bad Boys joke. Is that an original? Good stuff. Michael Bay is one of the true douche bags in the film industry, but he gave us Bad Boys for which I'll always be thankful.

I don't think Memphis wants Damon around though. And you are right that having The Janitor or whatever they called Cardinal makes it unlikely they will let another white stuff anywhere near their locker room, but maybe they like one of the cheap Boston youngsters. Again, I doubt it, but maybe.

And I'm glad to hear that Memphis still has love for Lowry. I still contend the Grizz would have been better off taking a big in this draft, since I think Lowry will be legit starting PG on a playoff team someday. Hell, they could have taken Yi and then swindled someone like G-State in a trade. I have no doubt that the Conley/Lowry tag team will be good, but I think Lowry was enough by himself. Maybe I will be way off, but that was my take. I'm really high on Memphis though. I liked the Darko signing, I think Gasol is about to embark on his five year run of making the Bulls sick for not acquiring him, and Gay is about to really take off (he might be this year's Deron Williams in terms of making a huge jump from year one to year two). And Miller is an underrated player. A lot to like, I think. Too bad they aren't in the East.

Anonymous said...

Boston's roster problems aren't that serious, except that 3 of their top 7 have injury histories (Allen, Allen and Pierce.) Rondo could easily be the point guard of right now, he's already better than Alston and Jasikevicius would only be a back-up to him. And Tony allen is a great defender, who plays hard and smart and can give you 10+ points a game and could play alongside either Pierce ro the other Alleen. Trading him would certainly not be an option. Plus one or two of their rookies is going to emerge by seasons end as a rotation player. Brandon Wallace and Manuel could both be above average defenders in this league. Glen Davis has a unique skillset for a guy who can guard a lot of the centers in the league.

Look at what Craig Smith did last year. 18 minutes, 7.4 points, 5 rebounds, 53% shooting. They could get numbers like that out of Big Baby. Historically, this is something Danny Ainge is really good at, finding young rotation players. I mean he had a roster almost entirely full of guys who'd be perfect for someone's rotation last year which is why Boston was so bad. Really needing only 2 of Allen, Manuel, Wallace, Davis, and Powe to be succesful, i'd bet he did it again.

The player that Boston could really use in a trade is Pryzbilla, who they can't take on right now because of contracts, but if I were them I'd put all the rest of the free agent money into Mutumbo, and if they can't get him, PJ Brown, both with the added bonus that such moves would weaken other finals contenders rotations.

The only three players I'd consider taking on from your list would be Damon Stoudamire (but how would he feel as a back-up), Kyle Lowry and Jarrett Jack, and that's much more because Stoudemire would be an ideal secondary point guard that give you some points, and in Lowry and Jack's case, they could be really really good.

Joe Blazer said...

1)Jack for a pick doesn't work under the rules.
2)Boston already traded their 2009 pick and since teams aren't allowed to trade consecutive picks, the next one they could trade would be 2011.
3)Jack isn't really surplus in Portland. If he doesn't start at PG he will back up Blake and Roy at both guard spots.

Latilleon said...

Bad Boys: Mike/Lowry came from here...

We're about to get Juan Carlos Navarro from Washington for a lottery protected 2008 draft pick. Hopefully lottery protected means picks 1-14 and not just picks 1-3 or I am going to be majorly pissed... So Damon Stoudamire may be obtainable, but Boston doesn't any anything I think the Grizzlies would accept back. Stoudamire can shoot, and show Mike Conley the ropes, and without Eddie Jones, we are lacking in elder statemen (though Penny Hardaway is always available to the Grizz for next to nothing.) I didn't want to draft Mike Conley, but he's probably a better pure point guard than Kyle Lowry, and after ten games last year, we really don't know what he can do fully. Kyle Lowry is probably more Earl Watson than Jason Williams, and if he is coming off the bench, it will do nothing but help our cause.

I wanted us to draft Corey Brewer because we lack in toughness, but Conley is believed to be a future All-Star by the Grizzlies back office. It doesn't hurt that he has family in Memphis and should be able to connect with the city. When your franchise player gets no love because he is soft, you need to find someone to win over fans.

I was big on signing Darko (originally, I wanted us to try to make a move on Gerald Wallace, and then Otis Smith of the Magic got stupid) and I think if he shows some attitude, he will be more popular than Pau Gasol in Memphis. We will have some depth, and if the young talent can all grow to the level that their potential indicates they can (If Conley, Gay become All-Star quality players and Milicic is a solid 14, 9, 2.5 blocks and 50% shooting) and we don't have defections, we could be making noise deep in the playoffs within three or four years.

Next year should be good under Marc Iavoroni. We have the young studs to be Phoenix southern style.

And now we have some more shooters.

Can someone give us some defense?