If the Boston Celtics organization has its way, no fans will be reminiscing about the vital roles that Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries played with the franchise during its post-Big Three era. Per CSNNE’s A. Sherrod Blakely, Boston is already looking to deal Wallace and Humphries, both of whom are earning eight figures in the 2013-14 season.
While both are coming off of disappointing 2012-13 campaigns and are wildly overpaid, that does not necessarily mean that a suitor will not emerge if the right pieces are included in a deal. Though a team may be willing to stomach Humphries’ contract since it is expiring, no club is going to take on the remaining three years and $30 million of Wallace’s deal without some sweeteners thrown in.
By trading Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets and hiring Brad Stevens to coach, the Celts have fully embraced the idea of a rebuild. There is simply no place for high-priced veterans on this team that will likely use 2013-14 to determine exactly what they have in players like Jared Sullinger, Jeff Green, Kelly Olynyk, Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo.
Although trade season is still a ways away and the newest Celtics have yet to even step on the court in TD Garden, let’s take a look at five possible trades that would ship either Humphries or Wallace out of Boston.
Any deal involving Wallace or Humphries with multiple other players or any players who signed contracts in the 2013 offseason cannot happen until December 15.
BOS receives: PG Ish Smith, C Zaza Pachulia
MIL receives: SF Gerald Wallace, 2015 first-round draft pick
The Milwaukee Bucks’ decision to sign Zaza Pachulia for three years and $15.6 million deal was one of 2013 free agency’s more curious moves. The Bucks had plenty of depth at the 4 and 5 already, and Pachulia is simply not a starter on a quality playoff team.
Though Milwaukee has Carlos Delfino and Erson Ilyasova, neither are natural small forwards, meaning that they may have an interest in bringing Wallace in.
Dealing Pachulia would open up more minutes for Larry Sanders and John Henson, two young, intriguing players, while also allowing Ilyasova to log more minutes at power forward.
Wallace clearly is not the player he once was, but he fills a need for wing defense and still runs the floor well enough that he should be able to keep pace with this young Bucks team.
Acquiring a first-round pick from the Celtics would surely be an attractive prospect as well, since Boston’s rebuilding process likely will still be underway during the 2014-15 season.
For the C’s, bringing in Pachulia would actually fill a need at center and give the team a valuable inside presence on the boards. He could help Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger on the defensive side of the ball as well.
While he would be under contract through 2016 and taking up some cap room, Pachulia’s deal is worth nearly half of Wallace’s over the same time frame.
This is not exactly a home run deal for either side, but it makes sense financially and would be a nice move for the Celtics if Ish Smith could prove capable of earning regular rotation minutes.
BOS receives: SG Austin Rivers, SF Al-Farouq Aminu, C: Greg Steimsma
NOP receives: SG Jordan Crawford, SF Gerald Wallace, C Fab Melo 2014 first-round draft pick (Via Brooklyn Nets)
By signing Tyreke Evans and dealing Nerlens Noel and a potential lottery pick for Jrue Holiday, the New Orleans Pelicans have attempted to accelerate their rebuilding process and make a run for the playoffs in 2014.
However, while New Orleans has plenty of talent in the backcourt and a pair of quality bigs in Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson, they are low on perimeter defense and veteran leadership, two things Wallace could provide them.
Evans is generally poor defender, and while Eric Gordon has been effective when healthy, he is simply not big enough to consistently guard forwards. Wallace could step in and be the team’s main wing stopper while also providing the Pelicans with some legitimate playoff experience which their roster lacks outside of Anderson.
On offense, Wallace is capable of moving without the basketball, which is essential given the presence of three ball-dominators in Holiday, Gordon and Evans. He is not much of a shooter, but Wallace is active and capable of making plays on the offensive glass too.
A first-round pick would ensure the Pelicans they get a piece of the loaded 2014 draft, even if it is not a top-shelf player, while Crawford has proven that he can score in this league more effectively than Austin Rivers did as a rookie.
For Boston, they would acquire a guard in Rivers who had a dominant summer league and a forward in Aminu who has proven he can rebound at the NBA level. Steimsma could be important too. Though he fouled 5.5 times per 36 minutes last season, he can rebound, block shots and even hit the occasional mid-range jumper if left open.
If Rivers or Aminu could emerge as quality role players in the long-run, this deal could prove to be a real steal for the Celts.
BOS receives: PG Brandon Jennings, SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Rodney Stuckey, PF Charlie Villanueva, 2017 first-round draft pick
DET receives: PG Rajon Rondo, SG Jordan Crawford, SF Gerald Wallace
Despite acquiring Brandon Jennings in a sign-and-trade with Milwaukee, the Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn reported that the Detroit Pistons may still be interested in trading for Rajon Rondo, potentially using Jennings as a trade chip.
If Boston is willing to part with Rondo in their rebuilding process, which is currently unclear, they could do a lot worse than bringing in Jennings to run the point. He jacks up some horrendous shots, but he boasts career averages of 17 points and 5.7 assists while also showing he can take care of the basketball and spread the floor as well.
The 23-year-old guard still has room to grow as a player and is a more explosive scorer than Rondo, something this rudderless Celtics team needs.
Acquiring Rodney Stuckey and Charlie Villanueva would certainly hurt the team short-term, but it would provide them with boatloads of cap space that could go towards signing a marquee free agent or retaining young players once their rookie deals expire.
As far as future assets go, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope looks at the very least like he’ll be a quality three-point shooting guard, while a first-round pick from Detroit could be valuable if the Josh Smith signing does not pan out or Andre Drummond does not live up to his potential.
Though acquiring Wallace and Crawford would not be ideal for the Pistons, having a perennial All-Star at the point in Rondo might make the sacrifice worth it. Floor spacing would still be a huge issue, but they would be a dominant defensive team with Rondo and Wallace locking down the perimeter while Smith and Drummond protect the paint.
Deals of this size rarely occur, but if Boston opts for a complete rebuild they could do worse than acquiring a young starting guard, several intriguing assets and plenty of cap space in exchange for the 27-year-old Rondo, Crawford and Wallace.
BOS receives: SG Jimmer Fredette, SF John Salmons, PF Chuck Hayes, PF Patrick Patterson
SAC receives: SG Avery Bradley, SG Jordan Crawford, SF Gerald Wallace, C Fab Melo
Bradley has not developed quite as well as Celtics fans were hoping, meaning he might be available if the team is able to get out of Wallace’s horrendous contract.
The Sacramento Kings have a veritable logjam in the frontcourt, while they could desperately use some help defending the wing. Bringing in Bradley would give them an extremely small backcourt, but it would also allow them to play pressure defense and attempt to force turnovers.
Wallace’s contract would certainly hurt, but getting out of the remaining two years of John Salmons’ and Chuck Hayes’ deals would mitigate that to some degree.
For Boston, Hayes and Salmons would act as immediate stopgaps off the bench. Hayes is small, but he can bang down low and even play some center if necessary, while Salmons can stretch the floor and make plays from the small forward spot.
Acquiring Patrick Patterson could also pay off, as the 24-year-old stretch-4 averaged 11.6 points and shot 36.5 percent from three with the Houston Rockets before he was dealt to the Kings.
Jimmer Fredette has shown flashes during his NBA career and at the very least would be a floor-stretching guard who could move around screens and potentially play a few minutes at the point.
The Kings do not have much in the way of draft assets since they owe a pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers and have dealt most of their second-rounders, but Patterson and Fredette are two players who could potentially stick in Boston if they continue to grow and mature.
Hopefully the idea of bringing in a defensive-minded veteran like Wallace and a promising 2-guard in Bradley would appeal to Sacramento, who are hoping to improve before DeMarcus Cousins’ free agency.
BOS receives: SF Alonzo Gee, C Anderson Varejao, 2015 first-round draft pick (Via Miami)
CLE receives: SG MarShon Brooks, PF Kris Humphries
The Cleveland Cavaliers appear serious about preserving cap space for the 2014 offseason, and by trading the remaining two years of Anderson Varejao’s deal for one year of Kris Humphries they could create even more space to make a run at a certain prodigal son currently playing professional basketball in Florida.
Varejao cannot play power forward, and if Andrew Bynum is healthy then they would have some serious redundancy on their roster, while having Earl Clark and Anthony Bennett to play small forward may make the Cavs more willing to deal swingman Alonzo Gee.
Gee is not a starting-caliber talent, but he is a good two-way player who can come off the bench and play 25 minutes without hurting his team.
A 2015 first-rounder from Miami may not have much worth immediately, but the Celtics are in the midst of stockpiling assets, and every team wants the rights to as many first-round selections as possible. It could potentially be a small piece in a big trade to land another All-Star level player.
Giving up MarShon Brooks would hurt the Celts since his scoring ability is something they desperately need off the bench, but they should be able to replace his production with Crawford and Bradley. By dealing Humphries, Boston would also open up more minutes for Sullinger and Olynyk to prove themselves.
There are certainly caveats with this deal, it could only happen if Bynum looks good and Cleveland really values cap space, but Boston could potentially shed Humphries while filling a major hole at center and adding another valuable draft choice for the future.