Boston Celtics: 4 Reasons the C's Screwed Up the Trade Deadline
After deciding to not make a deal at the NBA trade deadline, Celtics executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge has seen his team lose two of three. The Celtics, with the exception of the fourth quarter of last night's win in Atlanta, look as tired, old and thin as at any point this season and are giving up valuable ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race in the process.
There were a few things the Celts could have done on deadline day, both to help the team this year and beyond, but in the end, nothing tickled Ainge's fancy the way so many other deals he's made in his nine years at the helm of the Boston basketball franchise have.
Ainge's moving to not make moves gave Celts fans another six weeks to enjoy this Big Three era and the potential for one last playoff hurrah.
But it also deprived the team of getting any stronger, deeper or bigger for that potential postseason trip. And now, with big men dropping like flies, no rebounding help in sight and a general sense of lethargy enveloping the team as it limps across the country on its current road trip, one can only wonder if Ainge should have in fact made a deal just for the sake of making one.
It's a little bit too soon to categorically claim that Ainge and the C's botched the trade deadline, but right now, it sure feels like they did. Here's a handful of reasons how and why.
1. No Help Up Front
Being the C's top option at center has tired Garnett out.
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Look, it's not as if the Celtics could have conjured up a tough, physical big man to help their woeful rebounding numbers. Even if such a player were available, it's not as if they have the assets required to go get him.
But even so, not doing anything to help the league's worst rebounders was a bit of a stunner. Ainge has been failing miserably along the front line for years now; beyond the trade of Kendrick Perkins, here's some names for you: Rasheed Wallace, Shaquille O'Neal, Jermaine O'Neal, Mikki Moore, Chris Wilcox, etc. He may have felt intimidated to do anything on that front given what a miserable job he's done tinkering with it as of late.
Whatever the reason for the lack of action, the only area in which the Celtics absolutely needed to do something was up front and they didn't. Now, thanks to the season-ending ailments of Wilcox and (surprise!) Jermaine O'Neal, those same fans who will be treated to one last go-around with the Big Three will also be treated to a center combo of Kevin Garnett and Greg Stiemsma.
2. Youth Not Served
Allen appeared likely to go in the C's attempt to get younger.
One school of thought surrounding the Celts at the deadline was the idea of trading Ray Allen and his expiring contract to a contending team thin at the 2-guard spot in exchange for a draft pick and a young player.
The only problem was, the C's couldn't find anyone willing to meet those demands.
It wasn't imperative to trade Allen. He's having another very good year, shooting 47 percent from the floor and 46 percent from long distance. And his deal being up after the year helps the Celtics from a salary cap standpoint just as much as it would help any other team.
But as this team heads closer and closer to an uncertain future and a potentially massive rebuilding process, some of the certainty that a younger player under contract along with another draft choice would have provided sure would have been swell.
3. No Depth Charge
No additions to the depth chart means the Big Three will be even more tired in the playoffs.
This is the time of year when teams shorten their rotations in an attempt to begin preparing for the playoffs. Less guys play while the top eight get more minutes.
Regarding the Celtics, that means if you're a hardcore JaJuan Johnson or Sasha Pavlovic fan, it may be time to pack up that jersey til next season. But it also means that the C's top guns, most of whom are (wait for it) old, will be on the court even more instead of getting some extra rest here and there.
The Celtics really have no choice in this matter; with all of their injuries, the roster has been depleted and guys like Garnett, Allen and Paul Pierce are playing big minutes anyway.
Still, it would have been nice to see another body or two brought in to help spell the old-timers a bit. It's a given that this team will have to rely on its big names come playoff time but they would feel a little bit more comfortable if they had more time to convalesce.
4. Traded Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City
How bad do you think Doc wishes he still had Perk?
Of course, that happened at last year's trade deadline. The trade deadline the Celts really screwed up.
But if anyone is interested in measuring the decline of this team from where it was then to where it is now, you can start right there.
There's no way of knowing what sort of effect a healthy Jeff Green, the main piece the C's got in exchange for Perk, would have given this team. But judging by the only available sample (25 games plus two playoff series last year), not a whole lot.
It seems strange to think that the C's, with this same core, were a serious title contender just a year ago at this time. In the end, even if the Celtics had made moves at the deadline, there's very little out there that could have stemmed the current tide.