Jay mentioned this in his recap last night, but Doc Rivers made a very significant statement after Boston’s disappointing loss to Detroit.
“I gotta either find the right combination or the right guys, or we’re going to get some guys out of here,” said a visibly upset Rivers after the Celtics lost their third straight game. “That’s the bottom line. This group right now, they’re not playing right. It’s in them to play right. But right now they haven’t been either because I’m not getting to them, or they’re not getting to each other.”
Blame is bouncing around like a pinball among Celtics fans, and along with that blame — as so often happens — trade ideas are running rampant. A few things to keep in mind as you are playing with the trade machine:
- No team wants Jeff Green. He has been too inconsistent and his contract is too hefty. For better or worse, the Celtics will have to stick with him.
- Courtney Lee was a hotly contested free agent in the offseason, but his extremely slow start has probably diminished his trade value somewhat. Not entirely, but enough that making him the focal point of a deal that really impacts Boston’s season going forward probably isn’t realistic.
- Everything that I just said about Courtney Lee is also true of Jason Terry, except that A) He hasn’t REALLY been trending upward and B) he is much older.
- Leandro Barbosa too.
- Fab Melo could be used as a way to make salaries work for a different deal, but on his own, he isn’t going to interest anyone.
- Jared Sullinger has been fantastic, but I get the impression that the rest of the NBA is skeptical that he could help a team other than the Celtics. His trade value is probably considerably lower than his value to Boston.
- Jump-shooting power forwards are a dime a dozen which, given his success at shooting jumpshots this year, sets Brandon Bass’s value at about a nickel.
- Avery Bradley is the kind of relatively inexpensive and incredibly impactful player who would be good to keep around even in rebuilding, and the Celtics were abysmal without him.
- Kevin Garnett has a no-trade clause and I’m a little appalled if this idea even occurred to you.
- Trading Paul Pierce would set a very bad precedent for potential franchise players, and it’s unlikely that whatever the Celtics got back for him would be worth that damage.
- Celtics fans as a whole value (myself included) value Rajon Rondo much higher than opposing teams. So while trading Rondo might be the best way to get a quality piece (or a quality pick) back, it would also be tantamount to tanking.
All of this negativity is to say there are really two ways to go about this thing: Either the Celtics figure out their problems internally and turn their season around, or they hit the reset button and (probably) put an end to Pierce and Garnett’s careers, since neither veteran is likely to want to hang around a rebuilding squad.
Happy Trade Machine-ing everybody. I’ll be in the corner watching my DVDs of 2008 and sobbing quietly.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.