By Vinny, @sailboatstudios on Twitter
It’s that time of year again. Names appear in trade rumors – almost as if pulled out of a hat at random. Kemba Walker, Lou Williams, DeAndre Jordan, George Hill all linked to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The sexiest names attached to the team with, seemingly, the most to offer, (Brooklyn pick) while it remains uncertain the value of the Nets pick, it’s still important and an enviable asset. The issue of course is, using it to acquire guard George Hill, an older guard on a massive contract is an overpay. The sad fact is Tristan Thompson cratering in production ruins any possibility of a Cavaliers blockbuster deal, if T.T was the players he was last season Cleveland absolutely could’ve been in the running for somebody like Jordan or Gasol. But now Thompson is a gigantic albatross, if you’re rebuilding there’s no reason to take on Thompson’s contract and not receive a lottery pick in return is borderline lunacy.
In a league where teams don’t have necessary cap space or even digestible contracts to make the idea of a transaction possible, teams in contention already have an established point guard (Milwaukee, Boston, New Orleans); don’t have the assets (San Antonio, Cleveland). So all there’s left are the bottom of the playoff standings, Philadelphia, New York, and Utah. While Orlando and Phoenix can trump an offer of Frankie Smokes and Michael Beasley 2.0, it doesn’t make complete sense for them to sabotage their chances at a high draft pick for two Kemba Walker seasons.
Course, the issues in Boston aren’t the quality of play from their starters, but the uncertainty of Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier. Finding offense outside of Kyrie Irving and Al Horford is a tall order, when Jaylen Brown gets going the Celtics are unstoppable but he too suffers from inconstancy. According to Marc Stein, of The New York Times, Jazz shooting guard Rodney Hood reportedly is on the market. Hood is a classic case of a “He did well his first season, everybody expected him to just keep improving but he stagnated,” at age 25 Hood is no longer a prospect and likely this is the best he’s going to be. Buried under Donovan MitchellMania, Hood’s been solid this season, a career-high in three-point percentage (38.6) and points (16.7). Hood fancies himself a starter and due for a handsome payday. I suppose we cannot blame him. Garry Harris (4-Years, $84 million) and Tim Hardaway (4-Years, $71 million) are either in or slightly below Hood’s level, but this upcoming summer is a terrible time to be a free agent.
So the question, in my mind, is why do the Jazz want to trade him. And more importantly, as a Celtics fan, why would they want Marcus Smart? Why are the Jazz suddenly interested in taking on Smart’s $11,345,050 cap hold for this summer? I get it, their seasons over. But I’d rather have Hood leave for nothing than try to swap him for Smart. If Rozier is thrown in then I’d listen. Rozier isn’t a knockdown shooter, he’s shooting a below-average percentage, if you take out his one-for-seven performance against New Orleans a few nights ago, his percentage is a more respectable 35.5%. The kicker could be Rozier is under team-control until 2019 – and maybe longer since he’s very cheap to hang on to because he was drafted later than Smart.
The Celtics tried to trade Marcus Smart last off-season to make room for Gordon Hayward, but the pickings were so slim they moved Avery Bradley instead. It takes two to tango, Ainge knows how difficult it is to find a willing partner. Don’t hold your breath for Ainge to work his magic in the next month, it’s more likely he uses the DPE to pick up recently bought out Greg Monroe, Tyreke Evans, or if we’re talking bottom of the barrel: Mario Herzonja. It’s easier to just add a player relatively for free than to orchestrate a trade around players below the targeted players value.
But, just for fun, here’s my proposed trade to the Utah Jazz if Dennis Lindsey is reading this for some reason:
Utah: Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, 2019 Celtics 1st
Boston: Rodney Hood, Raul Neto