Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge did a solid job this offseason of adding quality, young players to his roster and did so without giving up any of his future assets or flexibility. The dilemma for Ainge now, is that his roster currently sits at 17 players and that does not include the soon-to-be signed Evan Turner or any of the three players he has invited to training camp.
Brandon Bass.This means, that despite the current silence, the Celtics will likely have to make multiple moves before the season in order to get the roster down to the 15-player limit. While cutting players seems the easiest route, one player who could be considered for a trade prior to the season is veteran forward
Bass has been with the Celtics for three seasons now and has been a pillar of consistency and professionalism throughout his stint. He has continued to improve his game, especially on the defensive end, but with a recent influx of young talent in the frontcourt, it may be time for the Celtics to move on from their veteran power forward.
A player of the caliber of Brandon Bass deserves playing time on any team, but that could hold back the development of young big men like Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger unnecessarily considering Bass is a free-agent at season’s end.
The 29-year-old Bass averaged 11.1 points and 5.7 rebounds last season playing in all 82 games and shot a solid .486 from the field. He is a consistent threat from mid-range, a good defender and a high-character veteran who has 54 games of playoff basketball under his belt and is in the last year of his contract that is worth $6.9 million this season.
A number of teams could use the services of Brandon Bass, but which teams have a need and the pieces that the Celtics would want in order to make a trade? Let’s take a look at a few options.
The Rockets struck out in a big way this offseason. They were hoping to add a third star to their dynamic duo of Dwight Howard and James Harden, but instead they traded away Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin, while losing Chandler Parsons to the Dallas Mavericks in free agency and only signed swingman Trevor Ariza in return.
The Rockets are aiming for nothing short of a Finals appearance but the lack of experience and depth in their frontcourt may now be reason for concern.
The Rockets have the expiring contracts of Alonzo Gee and Josh Powell to use in a trade and could easily tempt the Celtics with French rookie Clint Capela who, while raw, has the athleticism and shot blocking ability the Celtics currently lack among their own bigs. Capela would not immediately demand the playing time of Bass and would give them another young prospect to develop while they rebuild.
The Raptors were one of the East’s up-and-coming teams last season and now the pressure will be on for the young Raptors to improve their performance in the playoffs. They re-signed Kyle Lowry, appear to be set on the wings and have high hopes for big man Jonas Valanciunas.
Amir Johnson did a solid job manning the power forward position last season but they Raps could be out to find a moderately priced upgrade prior to the season.
Brandon Bass would provide great spacing for Valanciunas inside and the likes of DeMar Derozan driving into the paint. The Raptors have the expiring deal of Chuck Hayes to use in trade and could offer up the recently acquired Lucas Nogueira to tempt the Celtics.
The Brazilian was selected 16th by the Celtics in 2013 before soon finding his way to the Atlanta Hawks. High on potential, Nogueira could be an intriguing talent to add to the center position in Boston while not demanding the high minutes of Bass.
The Celtics have a bevy of picks and young role players to add to trade if the Raptors are high on the young Brazilian.
The Celtics are in dire need of rim protection and one player who may fit the bill is Nuggets’ center JaVale McGee. McGee has been restricted in his playing time since joining the Nuggets in 2011-12, never averaging more than 20 minutes per game and was limited to just five appearances last season due to injury.
McGee does, however, possess elite size and athleticism and could be the answer at the center position for the Celtics.
McGee is signed through this and next season, with next year paying him $12 million and if he is not going to be a big part of the Nuggets’ rotation they may not want to pay him such big money for twoi more years. Denver can be a difficult team to deal with as they appear to have depth at every position, but after a disappointing 2013-14 season they may be looking for veterans to try and make their way back into the playoffs.
Along with Bass, the Celtics could package the non-guaranteed deal of Keith Bogans along with a pick or young player.
There have been some rumblings over the Kings wanting a certain, higher-profile Celtic via trade, but with Rajon Rondo likely unavailable for what the Kings are selling, they may look to more acquirable veterans in order to improve the roster. It is time for the Kings to start winning games and looking to convince big man DeMarcus Cousins to stick around long-term.
While Brandon Bass is no star, his steady, reliable veteran presence could go a long way in helping the Kings get the ship heading in the right direction.
The Celtics could target former No. 2 pick Derrick Williams, who also plays power forward but is younger and would suit a rebuilding situation more, where the Kings may be more interested in a veteran. Alternatively, the expiring contract of Jason Terry along with a young asset like Ray McCallum or Deonte Burton may be enough for Boston to make the move.
So, while the options may be limited, they are out there and we’ll see just how determined Ainge is to make a move in coming weeks. Bass appears to be the odd man out on the roster at this point and while he is not a flashy name, the league knows the value of consistent, steady, reliable veterans who can help your team win games.
Expect to see Bass shopped right up until the trade deadline as it would appear the Celtics are unlikely to invest money in him long-term this offseason. It may be better for the Celtics and Brandon Bass to part ways before it comes to that and the team loses a solid contributor for no return.