I’m sorry Celtics fans, but the Big Three as we know it could soon be coming to an end. Sure it will be incredibly hard – if not downright impossible – to replace the Hall of Fame trio of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, but a new day in Boston is upon us. And finding a new player to complete a trio that includes Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins has to be priority No. 1. In order to make this happen, the following trade has to go down: Ray Allen for Kevin Martin and Andres Nocioni.
According to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, the Celtics have told other teams that that they are willing to trade Allen.
The Celtics have initiated trade proposals on Allen, multiple league sources say, and Boston is searching for a younger, less expensive guard and an expiring contract. This way they can find a replacement for the 34-year-old Allen without losing him and his $20 million expiring contract for nothing in free agency this summer. Only, there isn’t a shooting guard available who’s Allen’s peer. This threatens a perilous choice between transitioning for the future and refusing to compromise a chance to win a title now.
While it’s true that there isn’t a shooting guard available who’s Allen’s peer, Martin would be the best possible option. He just turned 27 yesterday, and since coming back from his injury, has finally started to get his groove back. At 6-7, the six-year pro would fit in well between Rondo and Pierce in the backcourt, and also could be just as potent a scoring threat as Allen.
But if I’m Danny Ainge, the real reason I make this deal is Nocioni. This fall, there were rumors that Nocioni could land in Boston as part of a three-team deal, although many people thought that Ainge would be reluctant to take on the remaining two years and $13.5 million of his contract. But with injuries depleting their bench, his offensive and defensive production would be welcomed with open arms in Beantown. At the same time, if Ainge is looking to acquire an expiring contract so the Celtics have some flexibility this summer, they could also do the deal for Martin and Kenny Thomas‘ expiring $8.8 million contract. (Both deals work in the NBA Trade Machine.) Either trade would keep the Celtics in the title hunt this season, and put them in the position to remain a threat for years to come.
According to Wojnarowski, while Allen wants to remain a Celtic, he’s believed to be intrigued with the possibility of joining either the Heat or staying close to his home in Connecticut and signing with the Knicks. Neither of these teams really have the pieces that the Celtics would want in return. If they’re just taking back expiring contracts, they might as well play out the season with Allen, and let his almost $19 million deal come off the books.
As for the Kings, they would jump at the chance to make this deal. Even if Allen doesn’t re-sign in the offseason, ridding themselves of the three years and $36+ million remaining on Martin’s deal – so they can build around Tyreke Evans, Omri Casspi, Jason Thompson and Spencer Hawes – would be huge. With all that money off the books, the Kings could be huge players in this summer’s free agent bonanza.
What do you think? If you’re the Celtics and/or Kings, do you make this deal?
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