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Report: The Celtics Are Shopping, Willing To Make A Deal

With yesterday’s loss to the Lakers, the Celtics are now just 6-11 in their last 17 games. Their Big 3 of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett was supposed to be good enough to lead them to multiple titles rather than just one, but it appears like that won’t be the case.

That makes for a pretty desperate team come the trade deadline. Danny Ainge, the Celtics’ GM, has gone on record saying he won’t hesitate to break up the team’s core if it appears they can’t win a championship. In that vein, Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Ainge has begun to shop Ray Allen and his $19 million expiring contract.

The Celtics have initiated trade proposals on Allen, multiple league sources say, and Boston is searching for a younger, less expensive guard and an expiring contract. This way they can find a replacement for the 34-year-old Allen without losing him and his $20 million expiring contract for nothing in free agency this summer. Only, there isn’t a shooting guard available who’s Allen’s peer. This threatens a perilous choice between transitioning for the future and refusing to compromise a chance to win a title now.

Wojnarowski kind of nails the key issue here. As valuable an asset as Allen’s expiring deal is, the Celtics cannot afford to drastically alter their team’s culture, not when Paul Pierce and, yes, Kevin Garnett are still there. As such, the Celtics likely need someone who is as valuable as Allen and plays the same way, but younger. Those guys aren’t growing on trees.

I’ll submit one three-way trade that might work, but only if Sacramento decides that Kevin Martin absolutely cannot play with Tyreke Evans. Here it is:

-Ray Allen and Sean May to Philadelphia
-Kevin Martin and Andres Nocioni to Boston
-Samuel Dalembert, Jason Kapono and Jrue Holiday to Sacramento

Boston gets a younger Allen in Martin, plus Nocioni, who helps their bench. Philadelphia cuts money, while Sacramento also cuts some long-term salary while getting help inside with Dalembert (which they need) and a nice PG prospect in Holiday. The drawbacks are obvious — Boston’s taking on lots of long-term salary, while Sacramento might do better than this — but that’s all I see making sense out there.