Ranking the Boston Celtics' Most Tradable Assets

Mike Walsh@WalshWritesCorrespondent ISeptember 19, 2014

Ranking the Boston Celtics' Most Tradable Assets

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    Jeff Green and Rajon Rondo are very tradeable pieces.
    Jeff Green and Rajon Rondo are very tradeable pieces.John Minchillo/Associated Press

    The roster that the Boston Celtics have assembled thus far isn't exactly enviable. There are some perks, but for the most part, a few trades must still be made in order to put together a real, competitive contender.

    Right now, the Celtics have improved in some small areas and will likely reap the benefits of a healthy Rajon Rondo. Still, the team doesn't appear destined for a playoff spot as currently constituted. However, there is plenty of time to make a move or two.

    Danny Ainge has a franchise chock-full of tradeable assets that individually are valuable but together don't make up a winning team.

    He has young talent, established talent, first-round picks and expiring contracts. Whether he uses them now or allows things to roll over into next summer remains to be seen. However, should he choose to start wheeling and dealing in the offseason's final months, it would be useful to know what he can get for each of these numerous assets.

    Some could potentially bring back sizable and game-changing returns. Others would just be useful to get rid of. From top to bottom, Boston's most useful trade piece is its assets' versatility.

Likely Untradeable

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    Brian Babineau/Getty Images

    The Boston Celtics do have a few pieces that are likely untradeable at this point.

    Avery Bradley: If the Celtics didn't want Avery Bradley, they wouldn't have re-signed him to a four-year contract that will pay him $32 million. Bradley is in Boston to stay for now.

    Marcus Smart: With all the positive reviews about Smart so far and the possibility that Rajon Rondo will be traded or leave in free agency next summer, the Celtics aren't going to be looking to move their No. 6 overall draft pick from this summer.

    James Young: Like Smart, Young is inexpensive, and Boston just acquired him in the draft. He has next to zero trade value currently and didn't even play in the summer league. Boston will be hanging onto him to see if he develops into anything substantial.

    Tyler Zeller: The Celtics went out of their way to get Tyler Zeller, taking on Marcus Thornton's contract in the process. His trade value is very low right now after not seeing much playing time last season. Boston will want to hang onto him and see if that changes with a new and increased role.

    Phil Pressey: Even with a minuscule contract, there is no market for Phil Pressey in the NBA. Boston may like him or see some potential, but the numbers don't really back it up. It is unclear whether he'd even be in the league if the Celtics weren't paying him.

Evan Turner

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Until we know the exact contract details of the Evan Turner signing, we won't be able to fully gauge his trade value.

    The word is that he was signed for a portion of the mid-level exception. However, full details have yet to be made available. The mid-level exception as a whole is worth $5.3 million, so it is safe to say that Turner is coming to Boston for a fairly cheap price.

    However, even with the low price tag, there isn't much of a trade market for him. If there was, there would have been more competition to sign him in free agency. The price would have gone up, or he would have been gobbled up much earlier this summer.

    As it stands, he is a low-risk addition to the team with an added bonus of potential, as he is still just 25 and leaving a rough situation with the Indiana Pacers where his minutes were slashed. 

    The Celtics wanted to get him, but that could have been in order to parlay him into something more as a package. Still, we won't know his exact value as a trade chip until we find out the details of his contract and what Boston's intentions are with him.

10. Gerald Wallace

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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Unfortunately, Gerald Wallace is still not what one could call an expiring contract. No matter how much Danny Ainge can doll up his veteran small forward, very few teams are willing to take him and his remaining salary.

    Wallace is due to make $10.1 million this coming season and an identical amount the year after that. He turned 32 this summer and really hasn't looked like the Wallace who earned this big contract for two or three years.

    Playing 58 games with the Celtics last season after coming over in the Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett trade, Wallace averaged 5.1 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. He did tally 1.3 steals in 24.4 minutes per night, but he was overall a bit of an offensive liability on the floor. He shot a solid percentage but was not really willing to put the ball up.

    For the right price, the defense he brings to the table is well worth it for any NBA team. However, at $10.1 million, he is hampering what the franchise can do in terms of rebuilding. 

    Gerald Wallace is a very difficult asset to move at this stage of his career and contract.

9-8. Vitor Faverani and Joel Anthony

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    Elise Amendola/Associated Press

    Joel Anthony

    Joel Anthony doesn't have much going for him as a trade asset. Unfortunately for the Boston Celtics, he wisely opted in for the final year of his contract, which will pay him $3.8 million to likely sit on the end of the bench.

    He came to the Celtics in a small trade during the middle of last season and wound up seeing time in just 21 games. He averaged just one point and 1.5 rebounds in seven minutes per game for Boston.

    The team's frontcourt hasn't exactly thinned out a great deal, as the only move the C's made was to replace Kris Humphries with a taller and younger Tyler Zeller. So there likely won't be much playing time for Anthony again in 2014-15.

    Anthony's lone trade value is really with his expiring contract. While $3.8 million isn't going to be a windfall for anybody, it is a nice little chunk of capital to open up before free agency kicks off next summer. Anthony's deal could also work as a small financial bump to help even out salaries in a bigger trade.

    Vitor Faverani

    Like Anthony, Faverani will be struggling to find playing time on this roster in 2014-15. That isn't a great sign for his NBA future, considering his contract beyond this coming season is entirely non-guaranteed.

    What Faverani does have going for him are his size and contract. He will make $2.09 million this season and can be used as an expiring contract due to the terms of his deal. He is also 6'11" and 260 pounds, and there is very often a place in the league for guys with that size. 

    It won't be easy to get much value for him on the trade market, though, as Brad Stevens had him on the bench throughout the second half of last season, which totally sapped any value he built up earlier.

7. Marcus Thornton

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    As a part of their recent trade for Tyler Zeller, the Boston Celtics also accepted Marcus Thornton from the Brooklyn Nets, as well as his $8.575 million contract.

    Luckily for Boston, that deal only lasts through the upcoming 2014-15 season before expiring. That also makes him a slightly more appealing trade asset. He will be Boston's fourth highest-paid player for the upcoming season and likely its biggest non-Rajon Rondo expiring contract.

    Thornton does have his merits on the court and could definitely help a contender. He is a career 36.1 percent three-point shooter and 82.8 percent free-throw shooter. He is a player who can be on the court in close games and is only 27 years old.

    With the Celtics re-signing Avery Bradley over the offseason to a sizable contract, in addition to drafting a pair of guards in the first round, there isn't a ton of room on the roster for Thornton.

    Boston can still use his skills, particularly his outside shooting, but right now he is a decent trade asset as an established role player with a decent-sized expiring contract.

6. Brandon Bass

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    Winslow Townson/Associated Press

    Brandon Bass is a two-fold trade asset. He serves as an established role player with very definite skills, as well as a decent-sized expiring contract.

    The Boston Celtics' veteran power forward will make $6.9 million in 2014-15, the final year of his contract. This makes him a very tradeable piece for the Celtics.

    Bass is a quality offensive player who is capable of creating space in the paint, running the floor and hitting mid-range jumpers. He can help a team spread the floor, particularly while playing with a big who eats up space in the paint. Unfortunately, that range doesn't extend to the three-point line, which does hinder his value in today's NBA.

    He also turned 29 in April and has likely reached his peak as a player, but that peak is still valuable to the right team. When put in the right situation, he is an excellent complementary player who has seen time in some big games. He has remained very healthy and consistent and honed his defense while in a starting lineup with Kevin Garnett.

    Between that nice expiring contract and his translatable skill set, Boston shouldn't have a ton of trouble moving Bass when the moment is right.

5. Jeff Green

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    Jeff Green is one of those established talents that the Boston Celtics have in their arsenal.

    Unfortunately, at this stage, what he has established is really all he has going for him. The hopes of him developing into something more than he is—all that potential Danny Ainge saw when he brought him in for Kendrick Perkins and then re-signed him post-heart surgeryis pretty much off the table now.

    Green turned 28 over the summer, so while he largely is what he is at this point, he is still in his prime as a player. At $9.2 million this season and an identical player option for the following year, he isn't a bargain but isn't grossly overpaid either. The going rate for athletic, competent swingmen is right around there, and Green can do a lot of things well.

    His issue has always been, and likely will continue to be, consistency in effort and production. Because he is so middle-of-the-road in nearly every aspect, Boston has been unable to find a willing trade partner or at least one willing to part with anything of value. 

    On a bad Celtics team, he can average 16.9 points on 14.3 shots per game, but what exactly is Green on a contender?

    Since he is semi-properly paid, will he opt out of that $9.2 million in 2015-16 in search of a longer-term deal?

    Those questions are the biggest reasons why he is still in Boston.

4-3. Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk

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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Though they didn't enter the league during the same NBA draft, Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger seem linked.

    A lot of that has to do with age and position, as well as what they represent. We could go back and forth over who will have the better NBA career all day, but when it comes to trade value, they are essentially dead even.

    Sullinger is a little bit cheaper (about $500,000 per year), getting drafted a bit later in the first round. However, Olynyk is under his rookie contract for an extra year by virtue of coming out a year later than Sullinger.

    Olynyk has a better shot and will likely develop into the stronger offensive player, but Sullinger has that extra year of experience and spent a lot of time with Kevin Garnett in his ear about defense. He is also a much stronger rebounder and will likely average a double-double—if not this season then sometime in the future.

    Both have minor injury concernsSullinger a bit more so after he missed half his rookie year with a back issue. However, both played 70-plus games last season and put up solid numbers.

    In the end, I don't think Boston is looking to move them until they develop a bit more, which means their trade value is relatively meaningless at this stage. Because of that extra year, Sullinger's back concerns and that I think Olynyk is going to have a breakout sophomore campaign, the Gonzaga product is slightly more tradeable.

2. Draft Picks

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    Emmanuel Mudiay is a potential No. 1 pick.
    Emmanuel Mudiay is a potential No. 1 pick.Sam Forencich/Getty Images

    Should the Boston Celtics choose to get involved with any big names on the trade market during the 2014-15 season, they have quite a few future draft picks that should make teams pretty excited.

    In 2015, the Celtics have their own first-rounder, which is looking like a solid pick right now, as well as the Los Angeles Clippers' first-round selection. The first-rounder they are owed by the Philadelphia 76ers is lottery-protected, so it will likely become second-rounders in 2015 and 2016.

    Speaking of 2016, the Celtics will likely have three first-round picks, barring one of them being traded or a Cleveland Cavaliers collapse. They retain their own pick but will also receive the Brooklyn Nets' unprotected first-rounder and a top-10-protected first from Cleveland. 

    That Brooklyn trade keeps paying off down the road as well. Boston has the right to swap picks with the Nets in 2017 and will have its own and the Nets' first-round pick in 2018.

    Being that we are still in the offseason, all of these future assets are difficult to gauge right now. However, they are incredibly valuable in trade talks as low-cost pieces that represent hope in the future.

    Back in 2012, the Houston Rockets used two first-round picks and some other minor pieces to acquire James Harden from the Oklahoma City Thunder. These first-round selections are incredibly valuable.

1. Rajon Rondo

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The issue with moving Rajon Rondo has never been a lack of takers. It has been Danny Ainge's demands on a potential return that have soured each and every suitor.

    That situation remains the standard to this day, as Rondo has once again been tossed about the rough trade-rumor seas of this offseason. No one has come along with enough in their brown paper bag to tempt Ainge at the lunch table.

    Rondo is set on beginning the season with the Celtics, trying to re-establish himself as one of the league's premier point guards. He will do so while being fully healthy for a full season for the first time in two years. 

    Unlike a lot of players, Rondo's expiring contract is actually serving as a dampener in his trade potential. Because he will be an unrestricted free agent following the 2014-15 season, many of the potential suitors aren't willing to risk the possibility he won't re-sign. Then they would essentially be paying top dollar to the Celtics for a one-year rental of Rondo. 

    There is also the fact to consider that he will likely be seeking a max-contract offer following this season.

    Despite the high asking price of young talent and future draft picks and his contract situation, Rondo is still Boston's biggest trade chip, should Ainge be able to move him.

    All contract information courtesy of BasketballInsiders.com.


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