An unprecedented year in the world has produced an equally unprecedented year for the Boston Celtics. Roughly two months away from the end of the season, the Celtics are scratching and clawing to stay in the playoff picture. As the end of March approaches, so does the trade deadline. The Celtics trade deadline is always an interesting few days, but this season it needs to be rather calm. Boston should continue to look towards the future, rather than the present.
The Celtics Trade Deadline Needs to Be a Quiet One
No Harden? No Title.
James Harden without a doubt turned the league upside down when he took his talents to Brooklyn. For the Celtics, he didn’t just hurt their chances at a title, he extinguished them.
Just a couple of months ago, the Celtics were front and center in the Harden rumors. A superstar talent doesn’t appear on the trade block often. It was Danny Ainge‘s job to not only inquire but acquire the Houston star. He decided against it. Instead, he let the former MVP join forces with two legends of the game, formulating the best big three since the Warriors just a couple of years ago.
The hesitance from Ainge has been detrimental to the Celtics in years past. However, I’m not sure what occurred this offseason can be overlooked. Take chemistry out of it. Take playstyle out of it. A unification of Kevin Durant and James Harden should’ve been blocked at all costs. It takes a superstar to win titles in this league. The Celtics passed on one at the perfect opportunity.
The trio of Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant is among the best we’ve ever seen. If healthy, it’s an unbeatable squad. The Celtics did this to themselves and nothing that could be done at the Celtics trade deadline could put them ahead of Harden and the Nets.
Valuable Trade Exception
The Celtics, although lackluster overall, did come out with something very valuable this offseason. One of the larger trade exceptions in NBA history. Roughly $28 million, the exception gives the Celtics a ton of wiggle room when it comes to trades. However, now is not the time to use it.
The trade exception becomes exponentially more valuable during the off-season. Teams are much more likely to move some of their more valuable pieces, especially around draft day. If the Celtics were in a position to really make a significant jump into title contention, I’d absolutely use that exception now. The problem is not only are there minimal big names available, but the Celtics aren’t as close to a title as people think.
$28 million dollars is a lot of money. Where the Celtics stand now, they simply are not just one piece away from an NBA Finals appearance. As much as people would like to see this exception used at the Celtics trade deadline, Boston would ultimately regret it.
So Close, Yet So Far
Is Boston’s roster talented? Undoubtedly, The lack of depth can be masked when the playoffs roll around. Kemba will find his groove. Tatum and Brown will finish atop the league in many of the most important categories. The lack of talent is not the problem.
It’s not so much the Celtics roster is in a bad spot as it is the top teams in both the East and West are too overpowering. The Celtics have had their shots. A horrific few years with Kyrie. A disappointing bubble run. It is time to reset and face the truth. Unless Boston is acquiring a generational talent, the Celtics trade deadline needs to be rather quiet.