Whenever trades happen in the NBA, fans are quick to look to see who “won” or “lost” the trade. Rarely is it ever a black and white scenario where one team instantly wins or loses the trade. Normally, there are many different faces in NBA trade scenarios for each team. Teams have to discuss what they’re doing now and down the road; what money is going where and who’s getting it. These things are often complex and take time to develop.
That was the case with the three team deal, first reported by Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, that developed today between the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors. This was a rare case in which each team instantly came out well in the trade, but all parties also made out well for their futures–especially the Celtics. It was a case of salary dumping, bench stability and cap space–a work of art.
Let’s start with our own Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics Made Out Well Because…
They dumped a player they didn’t really feel comfortable with extending into the offseason and saved themselves an extension going forward. With Rajon Rondo making his return and Jerryd Bayless recently being acquired as the C’s ball handler for the second unit, Crawford just lost his usefulness going forward.
That isn’t to say he didn’t contribute a great deal to the Celtics while he was here–he had a stellar run. Crawford is a former Eastern Conference Player of the week. He assisted on 31% of the Celtics field goals during his tenure and had two good months in November and December. But he wasn’t apart of the long term plans of the organization, but he was looking for a long term deal. So it made sense that the Celtics would want to part ways with him.
The Celtics got a pretty good package for him. He wasn’t going to be worth a first round pick–especially not with this loaded draft coming up. Teams are hesitant to give up their first rounders this season and the only team that sniffed a lottery pick in the 2014 draft through trade this season is the Phoenix Suns when they traded Marcin Gortat to the Washington Wizards. By the way, it looks like the Suns made out pretty well in that trade with Gortat having a sub-par season.
Crawford was flipped along with Marshon Brooks for Toney Douglas. Douglas was then moved to Miami for a 2016 second round pick and a lottery protected 2014 first round pick from the Philadelphia 76ers they acquired through the draft day trade for Arnett Moultrie two seasons ago. The pick is lottery protected into next season as well and if the 76ers fail to stay out of the lottery that season, it becomes a second round pick in the 2015-16 draft.
Though that doesn’t seem too glamorous, the Celtics just got a bunch of assets that they can flip when the time comes for a player who will be of use to them. They now have the rights to seven possible picks they can use that aren’t their own in the next four years. That’s great for a team in a rebuilding situation like the Celtics are. You, ideally, want to stockpile on tradeable deals, expiring deals and draft picks. Danny Ainge did just that with his move today.
Joel Anthony coming back from Miami doesn’t matter much. He likely won’t play much outside of spot minutes in case of injury or a shortened roster for whatever reason. Anthony is due to make $3.8 million this season and has a player option with that same amount next season. A lot of us would assume that Anthony would opt in, but Anthony is a paid veteran player and has tasted the glory of winning championships before. He may want to continue that pace and with the Celtics on a rebuilding track, he may opt out of his deal. That would be the best case scenario for the C’s.
Ainge isn’t really planning on attacking this free agency class aggressively. He knows that chances are slim that he lands a true max player like LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony. Instead, he’s looking to build through the draft, gain assets and keep his phone lines open. That’s probably the best bet for the C’s going into the future.
The Golden State Warriors Made Out Well Because….
They desperately needed the bench production. They’re 19th in the league in bench scoring according to Hoopsstats.com. That’s exactly why Jordan Crawford and Marshon Brooks were brought in. Toney Douglas proved he wasn’t capable of being a back up point guard for the Warriors. They hadn’t been able to find consistent offense out of their second unit with Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry gone. Crawford has been a proven scorer, capable of playing different roles in the backcourt offensively and Marshon Brooks will finally get a chance to prove what he can do offensively as well.
The Warriors hadn’t been able to run too much of their stuff from last year when Jarrett Jack was on the floor and the Splash Brothers were on the wings. Andre Iguodala has served in that role at times this season, but he’s a starter as well and is coming off of a nagging injury. It isn’t wise to play him too many minutes down the stretch. Now, the Warriors have the option of putting Crawford at point guard with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson on the wings and running their bow routes. That’s something that really came in handy for the Warriors last year–especially during playoff time. And it makes Curry that much harder to keep up with.
Most importantly, it allows Curry to rest up on the bench without losing too much offense in the process. Like I mentioned before, Jordan Crawford assisted on 31% of the Celtics field goals this season. He was having a terrible shooting month, but with the weapons Golden State has it will be much easier for him to create his own looks without having the defense stack up on him. Curry is playing nearly 38 minutes per game–something that could be extremely dangerous for a player with an injury history. The Warriors don’t want to see Curry overworked down the stretch and he’s proving to be too much of the team’s offense.
Curry’s usage is up to a career high 28.4% this season and he’s shooting a career low 38% from three. He’s scoring the ball well enough to keep the Warriors offense afloat, but he’s doing far too much on his own and that will be unhealthy come playoff time. He’s still shooting 45% from the floor, getting to the line and finishing well this season, but you can’t expect him to keep up his monstrous play throughout the season while logging so many minutes per game. Crawford’s job as Curry’s spell will be extremely important going forward.
The Miami Heat Made Out Well Because…
They managed to save some dough and get under the luxury tax a bit more this season. The Miami Heat are going to try their hardest to keep the big three together, but to do that it would be ideal that they don’t have to pay the repeater luxury tax. Instead of having to pay $2.50 per dollar in luxury tax payments, they’ll have to pay $1.75 per dollar. That will save them about $5.5 million in tax money this offseason. Toney Douglass makes about $2.2 million less than Joel Anthony does and is an expiring deal. With a salary at $1.6 million, Douglas provides the Heat with multiple options.
My first reaction to this acquisition was that it was obviously a salary dump, but it had implications for Mario Chalmers. Norris Cole has played well this season and has shown potential in his starting role. Chalmers is due $4 million this season but his deal is expiring. They have bird rights on Chalmers, so it’ll be easy to re-sign him if they want to and I’m sure that they do. But it could mean major tax implications if they do choose to without cutting salary elsewhere.
The only three players that the Heat will have on their roster outside of the big three next season will be Cole, Udonis Haslem and Chris Anderson. Anderson and Haslem have player options for next season, so they’re eligible to be free agents if they want as well. But should they opt in, the Heat will only be on the books for close to $9 million this offseason. If the big three choose to opt in to their deals–which is completely possible and, I think, likely–they’ll be on the books for just over $65 million. That doesn’t leave them much room to operate when it comes to being under the tax and building the rest of their roster.
But since they saved some tax money this season with this deal, they’ll be more willing to spend in the offseason. Douglas also provides them with a possible roster spot opening should they choose to cut him and eat his salary. They’ll have a spot available for Andrew Bynum if they really want him–but after Greg Oden’s game last night I don’t see that happening. But, more importantly, while Mario Chalmers is out with an Achilles injury, Douglass will be around to play the backup point guard role for the Miami Heat. The move could save them some money in the future, but it gives them a positive contribution now.
I love trades where everyone seems to make out well because it creates good faith in bargaining around the NBA. Each of these teams will be able to move forward with a goal in mind. The Warriors manage to stay slightly under the tax while gaining some bench production, the Heat manage to get closer to the luxury tax level they want to be at while acquiring some stability at backup point guard and roster flexibility now.
But, most importantly, the Boston Celtics managed to acquire themselves assets in the draft for the future, some cap flexibility going forward and they got to move two players who weren’t apart of their long term goals. This trade was all-around great for everyone involved.