Of all the wild things that happened at the NBA trade deadline, the biggest shocker remains what the Boston Celtics did. Danny Ainge dealt like a madman in the final minutes before the deadline, trading away Kendrick Perkins, a core piece from a championship team, and throwing a whole bunch of oddity into what seemed like a roster that was working towards a championship. Boston veterans are reportedly "livid" about the move, and I don't blame them. The sequence of events is just ... odd.
Just think about what pieces are coming in compared to what pieces are coming out.
- Jeff Green
- Nenad Krstic
- 2012 first-round pick (top-10 protected from Clippers)
- 2013 second-round pick (from Cleveland)
- Troy Murphy? Maybe?
- Rasheed Wallace? (Someone threw it out there...)
Therefore, he decided to get something for him now while he has value instead of keeping him and potentially losing him for nothing as a free agent. At the very least, Boston got the wing player they were seeking (Green), and also got a future asset (the 2012 pick). They also cleared roster space to add more size to replace Perkins once veterans get bought out. So maybe Ainge was thinking the cost of losing a mainstay like Perkins could be made up anyway.
The longer explanation? Ainge maybe, just maybe, is smarter than we all think. By removing Perkins, Ainge removed a player who was hoping to command a big contract as a free agent. Now, take a look at Boston's payroll in 2012 (via Sham Sports). The only two names on it? Paul Pierce ($16.7 million) and Rajon Rondo ($11 million). Everybody else, including Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, is off the books.
You know who is projected to be agent in 2012? Dwight Howard. Hmm...
(Okay, that's a longshot, but given Ainge's shocking moves at the trade deadline, you never know).