Grading the Celtics trade deadline deals in a vacuum, and in context

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Justin Quinn
·4 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The Boston Celtics made their first midseason deals in half a decade on Thursday’s trade deadline, dealing away several players for a trio of new ones in the first such deal since fan favorite point guard Isaiah Thomas came to town in 2015.

It saw the Celtics send out beloved multi-season players like Daniel Theis and Javonte Green as well as relative newcomer Jeff Teague in exchange for Evan Fournier, Mo Wagner and Luke Kornet. And while the team is probably better-balanced now than at was on Wednesday, just how should we grade these trades? There are at least two ways of looking at them we can think of — in a vacuum just considering the present and in the context of the last several seasons and those to come.

With that in mind, let’s grade the two trades.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Evan Fournier for Jeff Teague and two second-round picks

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

On its surface, this is a slam-dunk of a deal. Picking up a player for assets the team could simply buy more of to replenish its coffers (late second-round picks) and a player who doesn't really make sense on a team needing to develop a young point guard to get better wing depth and a plausible solution to the team's scoring woes is a very good move.

Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

But when you consider the team could have dealt away Kyrie Irving, Al Horford and Gordon Hayward when they chose not to extend -- and yes, Irving was defensible, the rest were increasingly less so -- four second-round picks plus all the assets those players could have generated for a potential rental of Fournier is not exactly an exemplar of ideal asset management. Now, a major part of the team's cap flexibility is (yet again) out of its hands. The trade in a vacuum: A- The trade in context: D-

Mo Wagner, Luke Kornet, cash considerations for Daniel Theis, Javonte Green

Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

In a vacuum, this trade makes little sense, given one is dealing away a starting-caliber big man on a great-value deal and a playable, beloved wing for a pair of third centers -- and paying cash to do it. And while it is true that Theis' is a looming free agent and moving off of him opens up minutes for Robert Williams III to spread his wings, that alone is far from the degree of value Boston could have received had they simply been shopping the Salzgitter native for a return.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

But the truth of the matter is that the Celtics needed to stay below the luxury tax to avoid triggering a repeater penalty far too soon in the career arcs of their young star wings Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. And with Theis' next deal likely out of their spending range and the frontcourt logjam a cascading problem affecting more than just Timelord (there have been virtually no minutes at the 5 for Grant Williams for example, who plays much better in that role), it probably made the most sense. In an odd way, it is the funhouse mirror image of the first deal executed by the team in terms of grading as a result. The trade in a vacuum: F The trade in context: B-

The bigger picture

Ashley Landis/USA TODAY Sports

You have to look beyond this season, and even the next to understand exactly what is going on here to truly appreciate -- or criticize -- these trades. While Boston missed out on the likes of Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic and a host of other potential targets which may have been far less available than many assumed, they did retain flexibility in terms of assets to both get off of Kemba Walker's contract if he cannot truly return to form,

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

They also still have the draft capital to make a big move so long as they don't fudge the players and contracts they still have to work with. But the path to true contention is getting thinner with each important milestone, and the front office desperately needs some good luck in the coming season and a half to make up for several smaller missteps that have had a much bigger sting. This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook! [lawrence-related id=48269,48244,48159] [listicle id=48293]

1

1