The Boston Celtics are finalizing a trade to send Avery Bradley to Detroit, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 7, 2017
Celtics trading Avery Bradley and a second-round pick to Detroit for Marcus Morris, source told ESPN.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) July 7, 2017
This morning, Danny Ainge & the Celtics finally created enough cap space to sign their man, Gordon Hayward, by shipping Avery Bradley & a 2019 2nd round pick to Detroit for Marcus (or Markieff, who can really be sure?) Morris. This deal also makes the Boston vs Washington rivalry just got a little more spicy with an added brotherly matchup between the squads. Wearing black to the funeral this time around will give the matchup a modern day Cain & Abel vibe, which I don’t hate.
For Boston, trade really has to be looked at as a financial housekeeping move, one that not only frees up enough cap space ($30.8M, to be exact) for Hayward this year, but keeps their payroll from skyrocketing next summer. Marcus Morris is on a very team friendly deal, extending for another 2 years at $5M/yr, while Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley were both up for huge paydays in 2018, and Danny Ainge was not trying to hitch $60M/yr to the IT & Bradley backcourt combo. The argument could be made that Ainge should have just kept the #1 pick, drafted Fultz and traded away Thomas, but he has become a bit of a folk hero for the totally not racist Boston faithful, so if Ainge decided to ditch IT4 , the optics would not be great. Marcus Smart is also a restricted free agent next summer, while Bradley will be a UFA, and keeping the RFA takes another variable of uncertainty out of the equation. Bradley could have left Boston for nothing, but Ainge can bring back Smart no matter what deal is tossed Smart’s way.
Additionally, Boston’s decision to send out a guard instead of Jae Crowder, and the acquisition of Morris, further demonstrates that Ainge values wing players above all, which is not a terrible strategy to have in today’s NBA, where effective 2 way wings come at an steep premium. Just take a look at Tim Hardaway’s $71M contract, gifted to him by the still incompetent Knicks. The Celtics SF depth chart now lists: Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Jae Crowder and Marcus Morris. It’s a logjam you love having, at a time where versatility on both sides of the ball is so highly valued. Outside of Hayward, Boston is paying those other 4 wings a combined $22.3M, and that number does not rise next season. Bradley and his “close to” all NBA defense will be sorely missed, but the Celtics have an embarrassment of riches at wing, and that’s where great teams are built. A rim protecting & rebounding big man will have to be brought in eventually, but Ainge’s vision is already starting to be realized in Boston.
For Detroit, Stan Van Gundy continues to make great deals, the best deals. He turned their 2020 2nd round pick into Marcus Morris last year, which he then flipped for Avery Bradley and a 2019 2nd rounder, not too shabby. The Pistons were not totally sold on Kentavius Caldwell-Pope, and acquiring Bradley gave them the freedom to pull their qualifying offer to him, so they will not be saddled with an enormous contract for a player that may not turn out to be worth it. While Avery is going to get PAID next summer, at least the Pistons know he has a proven track record to show that he absolutely deserves his huge payday. Stan wanted to make sure whoever he paid was a sure thing, and Bradley is absolutely that. Detroit’s payroll is still a mess, let’s get that straight; they are still paying Josh Smith more than $5M next season, because of the stretch provision they enacted for his contract, and they have $104.8 committed to Andre Drummond, someone who has no appreciable basketball skills other than rebounding and dunking. But this move gives the Pistons a sure thing in at least one spot of their starting lineup, something which Stan Van desperately needed.