While the young roster of the Boston Celtics have played two games already in the Orlando Summer League, 17th overall pick James Young has been forced to sit on the sidelines and watch. Young, who entered the 2014 NBA Draft after just his freshman year at Kentucky, was involved in a car accident prior to the draft which held him out of some workouts and will reportedly keep him out of the entire summer league.
“He’s still got symptoms from the car accident and he doesn’t have enough time to learn the stuff, get himself in shape — he hasn’t played for 3 ½ or 4 weeks, so we’re just going to not rush it,” said Ainge. “He’ll be fine in a couple weeks. Maybe a week. We were just hoping that he would be able to play this week, but he’s just not ready and we’re not rushing him.”
Added Ainge: “He had a little whiplash, but with whiplash comes concussion-like symptoms and dizziness here and there. We’re just not messing with that stuff.”
This all sounds fine and it is normal for a team to take precautions when it comes to injury, but we have seen Young warming up and shooting around on court in Orlando, which he should not be doing if he is suffering from any kind of “concussion-like symptoms.” Young appears to be in good spirits sitting on the sidelines with the team and ruling him out of the entire summer league after just the first game seems a little strange.
Adding to the intrigue is the signing of the sixth overall pick Marcus Smart. Smart, who has participated in both summer league games thus far, has already signed his rookie contract with the Celtics, which prohibits him from being traded for the next 30 days.
Celtics have signed Marcus Smart.
— Mark Deeks (@MarkDeeksNBA) July 8, 2014
With Smart and Young both in Orlando, the Celtics could have signed both rookies at the same time, but by leaving Young without a contract it allows them to include him in a trade at any time. The Celtics have been relatively quiet thus far in the offseason other than re-signing guard Avery Bradley, but it’s widely believed that Ainge is working on some big moves, like the pursuit of Minnesota All-Star Kevin Love.
The Celtics have a $10.3 million trade exception that expires on Saturday, so if we are going to see any fireworks they will likely begin before then. While most trade exceptions wind up passing without being traded, it does allow a great deal of flexibility and the chance to find additional resources to put forward in a bigger deal.
It could all mean nothing, but while the NBA world waits for the likes of LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in free agency, these small factors could preclude something on the horizon for the Celtics currently churning in the background. Young is one of the youngest players in the entire 2014 draft class and has great potential as a wing scorer in the NBA.
Alone he may not be a huge trade chip but could be a significant addition to a larger package if Ainge does intend on hunting a bigger prize within the next week.
It is a situation worth monitoring until the 18-year-old rookie signs his first NBA deal; until then the Celtics could be holding him out, waiting to see if the pieces fall in place for a blockbuster trade to shake up the Eastern Conference.