Jordan Crawford. Not DeAndre Jordan or Eric Bledsoe or Josh Smith or J.J. Redick or any of the other big names the Celtics were linked to in the last few weeks. Danny Ainge tried to make something big happen, but as he said for weeks leading up to the deadline, he values his players more than other teams, and he wasn't going to trade Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett for double nickels on the dime.
Ainge turned a player who was out for the season -- Leandro Barbosa -- and another with limited usefulness -- Jason Collins -- into a high-volume scorer with two functioning ACLs. In a small way this is a coup: Crawford is averaging 13.2 points and almost four assists per game. He basically replaces Barbosa as an instant-offense creator off the bench who can handle the ball in a pinch.
Crawford is signed for a little more than $2 million next season before he hits restricted free agency and is a low-cost rotation player. The Celtics are a little bit better than they were yesterday, which was one of Ainge's goals this week.
Shedding Barbosa and Collins also opens up another roster spot. Counting Terrence Williams, who signed a 10-day contract on Wednesday, the C's have 13 players on the roster. Of course, two of those players (Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger) are out for the year, so Ainge has work to do to fill out the roster. Adding another big, or two, is the priority. Without Collins, coach Doc Rivers has only Chris Wilcox to back up Brandon Bass and Garnett.
Barring another crushing injury the Celtics are headed back to the playoffs where Pierce and Garnett will get one more chance to do their thing this spring. Neither player wanted to leave and they get their way. For now. It wasn't the huge franchise-altering move many were hoping for, but on its merits the Celtics came out ahead in this transaction.
As for the Wizards ... it saves them some money and they got rid of a player who reportedly wanted out. That's good, I guess.
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