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Boston Celtics Trade Market: Waiting for the Next Shoe to Drop

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 7: Jerryd Bayless #11 of the Boston Celetics handling the ball during a game against the Denver Nuggets The Boston Celtics versus the Denver Nuggets on January 7, 2014 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Randolph CharlotinAnalyst IINovember 20, 2016

It took until this past Tuesday for Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge to finally pull the trigger on a trade. The Celtics acquired Memphis Grizzlies guard Jerryd Bayless and Oklahoma City forward Ryan Gomes, sending guard Courtney Lee and a 2016 second-round pick to Memphis while the Grizzlies send two future second-round picks to OKC.

For anyone who held their breath waiting for a Celtics trade, you may exhale. But it feels like there will be another shoe dropping soon. Let the anxiety of what happens next begin.

While a little more complicated than the original one-for-one swap initially reported, this deal is small potatoes. There’s no way that Trader Dan disconnects the phone and says, “Yup, I had a productive 2014. No more calls until May.” Just like this trade that expanded, Ainge is always looking to make deals.

And the next one could really be something.

For one, the logjam at guard hasn’t cleared up at all. If anything, it got more confusing. Bayless, like Avery Bradley and Jordan Crawford, is a combo guard. If Bayless is on a four-month trial period, will his play affect Crawford and/or Bradley? Will Phil Pressey even play anymore?

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 02:  Jordan Crawford #27 of the Boston Celtics drives to the basket during the game against the Chicago Bulls on January 2, 2014 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by
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Since winning the NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week award in December for averaging 23.3 points (.610 field-goal percentage, .522 from three), 6.7 assists and 1.3 turnovers during three wins, Crawford is averaging 13.1 points (.366 FG, .266 from three), 6.1 assists and 2.5 turnovers. Is Crawford now bad enough for head coach Brad Stevens to take the ball out of his hands?

There was also the rumor that the Miami Heat were interested in acquiring Crawford, according to The New York Daily News’ Mitch Lawrence. It is possible Bayless has 20 games to supplant Crawford and make him expendable.

Then there is the question of what about MarShon Brooks. He was sent to the Maine Red Claws, Boston’s NBA Developmental League affiliate, with homework. “We’re going to help him with his dribble, and we’re going to help him develop his defensive game,” Red Claws coach Mike Taylor said to The Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy.

So far, Brooks tried to win the NBADL MVP in one weekend, averaging 29 points, seven rebounds and 4.7 assists in three games while shooting .493.

Either Boston is preparing Brooks for becoming a regular in the Celtics rotation, or Brooks is being showcased to entice bidders for his scoring talent.

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 3: Kris Humphries #43 of the Boston Celtics shoots against Ryan Anderson #33 and Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans on January 3, 2014 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges an
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Though Boston is mired in a slump (lost seven of eight games), Stevens has managed to get the best out of many of his players. Besides Crawford, it’s easy to imagine some teams being interested in what Kris Humphries provides off the bench. Combine that with Humphries’ expiring $12 million contract, and he’s the ideal rental player for a playoff team with championship aspirations.

The coming augmentations will clearly reveal whether Boston is in tank mode or going for the playoffs. Swapping Lee for Bayless (Gomes was waived) doesn’t make Boston significantly better or worse.

What the trade does is clear about $1 million in cap room, giving the Celtics more flexibility in future deals. Now Boston has a little more wiggle room to add salary for a talented player.

Talk of acquiring Houston Rockets center Omer Asik quieted down, but absorbing his contract just got a little easier for Boston. Don’t be surprised if these discussions regain steam.

Boston and Houston can put together a trade centered around Humphries for Asik, and it would make sense for both teams: Boston would get a decent center, while Houston gets a productive player to bolster its bench with $12 million in savings after Humphries’ contract expires.

That’s just speculation for now, but the Celtics are in better position to deal now than they were just 24 hours ago. With Boston now behind the ninth-place Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference before Wednesday’s games, the next deal could reveal which road Ainge will take Boston down.

The trade deadline is 44 days away. That’s plenty of time for another shoe to drop. Trader Dan is just warming up.

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