The Celtics are not good enough right now to win a title. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett aren't getting any younger, and their only real trade asset is Ray Allen's expiring contract. Unlike most expiring contract deals, Ray Allen still has some game.
These are five trade deadline deals that I could see going down, that would enhance the Celtics championship aspirations as well as help a team take the next step in rebuilding.
Ray Allen and J.R. Giddens for Kevin Martin, Mikki Moore, and Andres Nocioni.
The Celtics get a younger, quicker, more athletic shooting guard that is signed to a reasonable deal until 2013. Mikki Moore has experience with the Celtics from last year, so should be a seamless fit. He is also an expiring contract, so if they don’t want him after the playoffs he will come off the books.
Nocioni is who the Celtics would be forced to take back. I don’t think he would be that unwelcome. He is a good rebounder, good defender, and does all the dirty work that championship teams need. He could easily play the same role that James Posey filled the last time the Celtics were champions.
The Kings obviously do this only for cap space.
Josh Howard, Eduardo Najera, and Matt Carroll for Ray Allen
The Mavericks are missing something, and it might just be a pure shooting guard like Allen. Howard does a lot of things well, but Shawn Marion does the same things, so his services aren’t needed in Dallas.
For the Celtics they would get an athletic wing to play beside Paul Pierce that would definitely be an upgrade on the defensive end. He’s not the shooter that Allen is, but the additions of Matt Carroll would help offset that loss to some degree. Najera could contribute minutes at both forward spots if needed.
In this trade, the Celtics would also be able to keep Giddens and Scalabrine for depth.
Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler for Ray Allen
This is the trade that has just recently been leaked, and seems to be a great deal for the Celtics. They get two former all stars to add to Garnett, Pierce, Rondo, and Sheed. I’m not sure how Pierce and Butler would work together, because they are both very similar players, but I think the increased talent is worth the risk.
Jamison would provide added depth at both forward positions, and add even more offensive fire power to the second unit. Playing Sheed and Jamison together off the bench could be a pretty devastating combination. Hopefully, the egos would mesh and not get in the way of championship aspirations.
Three-team deal: Kirk Hinrich, Roger Mason Jr, and Jerome James to the Celtics; Ray Allen to the Bulls; Tyrus Thomas to the Spurs
The Spurs have shown a tremendous amount of interest in acquiring Thomas, and a rotational swing man isn’t to bad of a price to pay. The Celtics don’t really have much of a need for more frontcourt depth, so they could use Mason Jr and his expiring contract a little more than Thomas.
The Celtics also get Kirk Hinrich, who will either become their first guard off the bench or their starting shooting guard. Between Mason Jr and Hinrich the Celtics should be able to replace Allen’s productivity.
The Bulls do it to upgrade their shooting guard position and to get out from under the $17 million left on Hinrich’s contract over the next two years.
Ray Allen and J.R. Giddens for Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy
In this trade the Celtics would be getting more depth from shooting guard all the way to center. Both of these contracts expire after next year, so it wouldn’t be a long term financial investment, but instead just a two-year run at the title.
The Pacers would only do this if they have given up, but it would be interesting to see Allen and Granger play together. Also it would free up more time for rookie Tyler Hansbrough and sophomore Brandon Rush to develop.