Danny Ainge has been on the hot seat this off season trading away Avery Bradley. Ainge has been trying to make big moves to close the gap between the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers. Danny has been reluctant to pull the trigger on many deals. Ainge had the opportunity to make a trade for Jimmy Butler or Paul George for a starter and draft picks. Unfortunately, Ainge missed the boat on that trade.
Boston Celtics were able to sign Gordon Hayward for 4 years $128 million. This deal seemed like it put Mr. Ainge right back on the path of success. Ultimately, this deal proved to be fools gold as the Celtics had to give up rights to many players including Kelly Olynk. The trade proved to be a pyrrhic Victory. Ainge had to trade Avery Bradley to make cap room for Gordon Hayward.
Danny Ainge May Not Be The Smartest Man In The Room
Before the Celtics pursued Hayward they should have calculated their cap. Cap Projections made by management would let them know they would have to give up their depth in order to get Hayward. That being said Danny Ainge and company should have assessed the risk reward more carefully.
Gordon Hayward is a star player but he is not a transcendent star that you give up your depth for. Jimmy Butler or Paul George are players who have proved they can carry a franchise more consistently than Hayward. Danny Ainge miscalculated the caliber player the Celtics are getting. Brad Stevens may be influencing the Ainge Man into believing Hayward is the second coming of Larry Bird. Obviously Hayward was in a contract year and played his best basketball. Prior to this past year he failed to live up the standards of most stars.
Avery Bradley Worth His Weight in Gold
In the Celtics shuffle to create cap space they lost one of their most valuable players. Avery Bradley can defend, run the offense and knock down shots. This past season Avery averaged 16.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.2 assist. Bradley had an effective field goal percentage of 53% and shot 39% from three.
Danny Ainge traded away the one player after Isaiah Thomas who is most valuable to the team. Celtics should have never ever included Avery Bradley in any trade talk despite any luxury tax. Not only was Bradley great offensively he was superior defensively.
Bradley was two time NBA All Defensive team. Bradley always guarded the other team’s best player. Often times the Celtics had to hide Isaiah Thomas because he was not a good defender. Avery always picked up those tough assignments which allowed Thomas to relax and focus on offense. Kyrie Irving openly admitted to Dave McMenamin Avery Bradley always guarded him the toughest.
Bradley being gone means a big hole in the Celtics defense. In the NBA if you cannot stop the ball on the wings and top of the key you’re dead in the water.
Boston Celtics May Have to Rethink Their Strategy
Danny Ainge has picked up Marcus Morris who is not a great three point shooter. Marcus is a better player than his brother but overall is inconsistent. Morris has a field goal percentage of 41.8% so he is inefficient to say the least.
Ainge made a trade that doesn’t even make any sense basketball wise. Marcus is not efficient enough to spread the floor and play small. Morris also does not have the ability to truly play a stretch four. Avery Bradley outrebounded Morris by almost an average of 2 rebounds per game. Thus, Marcus will not be quintessential in their big lineup since he is not a great rebounder.
Losing Bradley does not make any sense if you want to play small ball with the Cavs. On top of that bringing in Morris does not help if you want to play big since he is not strong on the boards. Danny Ainge truly could have considered moving Jae Crowder who was about $1 million shy of Bradley’s contract and try to package that with Marcus Smart or another bench player.
There were alternatives to the choice Danny Ainge made that will haunt him this up coming season. Whatever strategy Ainge had in mind will not work with this major blunder. The only way to make a mends would be to land Marc Gasol. I am sure in that deal Ainge would trade another great piece away instead of going into luxury tax or trading a bench player.