Who’s next

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Raffy Ledesma

Raffy Ledesma

The Boston Celtics have continued their full-on rebuilding mode by recently trading guards Jordan Crawford and Marshon Brooks in a three-team deal. Both are now with the Golden State Warriors who badly need more depth behind Stephen Curry. The Warriors sent guard Toney Douglas to the Miami Heat, who in turn sent center Joel Anthony to the Celtics along with two future picks.

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Crawford was having a career-season with the Celtics, becoming the primary playmaker in the team with the injury to superstar Rajon Rondo. However, the team had little need for him given the impending return of Rondo and with the recently acquired Jerryd Bayless. Despite his growth as a player this season, Crawford is the latest casualty in the Celtics’ bid to acquire more draft picks and potential cap space.

As I see it, there are several highly paid players in Boston that will definitely get the boot soon but only if some other team will take their contracts. The Celtics took on the contracts of Kris Humphries ($12.1 million, 1 year) and Gerald Wallace ($30.3 million, 3 years) to unload Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets. They were also able to “steal” several 1st round draft picks in the deal. The team also have Brandon Bass ($13.4 million, 2 years) in the books. While the three players are good, they don’t have a lot of upside and will definitely not be included in the rebuilding process.

Humphries and Bass can easily be traded to other teams with their big-man skill set and reasonable contracts. Playoff-bound teams who are in need of frontcourt help will come knocking soon. Wallace, meanwhile, is impossible to move with his exorbitant salary and his poor play. At 31-years old, he simply doesn’t have the athleticism which he had in his younger years and he has become a liability to the team. It would be a miracle if any team would want an over-the-hill player. Over the past few days, Wallace has been ranting about his diminished role and has accused teammates of being “selfish.”

Even as the Celtics continue to unload players and contracts, they have a young core who are expected to grow during this process. Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger, and Kelly Olynyk are talented players that rookie coach Brad Stevens would like to develop. Add that to the fact that the Celtics are successfully “tanking” the season, they will definitely have a chance for a high pick in the draft in the Andrew Wiggins-Jabari Parker-Joel Embiid sweepstakes.

The next question is whether the team will also unload their lone resident superstar Rajon Rondo. There are many who think the team will pull the trigger once he shows that he is fully recovered from his ACL. After all, Rondo is a high-maintenance player who once clashed with Ray Allen and even former coach Doc Rivers. However when healthy, Rondo is one of the best players in his position and he is someone you can build a young core around.

Regardless, the Celtics are full of assets and will do anything to fast-track their rebuilding.

raffyrledesma@yahoo.com

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