NBA Trade Deadline: Celtics Should do Nothing
2008-2012 were some of the best years of my life for a number of reasons. For one, those were my 4 years at Howard, a time I would probably trade in my annual salary for to get back. The Patriots were still the Patriots; yes we just blew it in the Super Bowl to ruin a perfect season, but we made it back my senior year so we were still pretty dominant. But the best thing about those 4 years, the thing that I hadn't experienced yet in my lifetime at that point, was that my Celtics were finally relevant once again. I still remember both days we swung those trades for KG and Ray Allen. I remember my dad handing me the newspaper with KG, Pierce, and Ray on the front page holding up their jerseys. At the time, there were no big 3's in the league. There were no super teams; every superstar had their own team, or had 1 other All Star at best. So I really was just in disbelief, thinking to myself "how the hell is this even possible"? Fast-forward to June 2008, and we're raising banner #17 in the TD Garden.
Fast-forward even further to Draft Day 2013, and the Celtics core that I had grown to love were finally splitting up. KG had been through his run of injuries, Pierce couldn't carry the scoring load on a nightly basis like he used to, and Ray had already bolted Boston the year before that for the Heat. Danny knew it was time to hit the reset button and begin the rebuild process, and he couldn't have picked a better trade partner to do it with. In what has turned out to become the worst trade in the history of the league (on the Nets end), Ainge flipped Pierce, KG, Jason Terry, and a few others to the Brooklyn Nets for 3 (THREE!) first round picks and a bunch of players who he never intended on keeping anyways. In a nutshell, Danny fleeced the Nets for basically their entire future, and Brooklyn ended up having nothing to show for it.
We went through some lean years following that trade & it was rough to watch. Those times really test who are the true fans and who aren't. I struggled to keep my food down while watching Rondo dribble the ball for 20 seconds of the shot clock just to try to get an assist at the last second and pad his stats. But Danny knew what he was doing, he knew that there would eventually be a return on his investment, and it's proved to be true. After moves like hiring Brad Stevens, trading for IT and Crowder, and drafting Smart and Jaylen Brown (with the latter being from the first of the 3 Nets picks), we're now sitting pretty only 2 games behind the Cavs for the #1 seed in the East. We did this with no "superstar" and no big trades, just the classic draft and develop.
That brings me to my point of why I don't think the Celtics should trade this year's Brooklyn Nets pick, even if it nets them (no pun intended) someone like Jimmy Butler in return. If you turn on SportsCenter as we approach the trade deadline, all you will hear about is how many assets we have and how we're involved in trade talks for basically every notable player. As a Celtics fan, nothing would make me more happy than to see us stand pat with the pick and see if we win the lottery. Let's just hypothetically say we trade that Nets pick, and for my example I'll use the name most involved with our team for trade talks: Jimmy Butler. Butler is without a doubt an ascending superstar who plays both ends of the court and would fit in with our team seamlessly. Honestly, with Kevin Love's health on the brink, let's just say the stars align and we happen to beat the Cavs in the ECF and play the Warriors in the Finals. Even with Butler, our current roster still isn't talented enough to beat Golden State in a 7 game series. So what was the point of sacrificing our future by trading possibly the #1 pick just to be able to advance to the Finals?
Danny doesn't want to just get better; he doesn't want to just contend for a couple of years, he wants to be dominant for a long time. We have one of the youngest teams in the league, and our best player just turned 28 a week ago. Not to mention our coach looks like he just graduated college. This team is built for longevity, our salary cap situation is built for longevity, and our trove of draft picks is built for longevity. It's not about the now for us; it's not even about 3 years from now for us. Sometimes you just have to let the greats have their time period, and right now is LeBron and the Warriors time. Think about how the Jazz, Magic, Knicks, and other great teams of the 90's feel. Most of the best teams of the 90's never won championships because this nigga MJ was just running shit. Danny isn't going to sacrifice the post-LeBron and post-Warriors era just to MAYBE be able to advance to the finals. And as a fan, I don't want him to.
I want to do exactly what we've been doing, which is exactly what the Spurs did: draft and develop so that you can contend for a long period of time. Aside from IT and Horford, the rest of our core is anywhere from 19-24 years old. Add in the top 3 pick we get in the draft this year, and our timeline is set up so that our best players all hit their prime as LeBron is about to walk out the door. The Warriors could possibly be a problem for a few years, but I don't think they'll be able to keep that core together for a very long time. Part of the reason KD was even able to sign with them in the first place is because Steph is still playing on his bargain of a contract he signed 4 years ago. We don't need to trade any of our assets anyways; Boston has become an attractive enough destination where we can lure big name free agents.
So be patient Celtics fans, our time isn't now. Trust in the development of Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and this year's top 3 pick. But most of all…trust in Trader Danny. He's going to make sure the next championship window isn't as short as the last one was.