DANNY PICARD: I want your thoughts on what the Boston Celtics did — which is nothing — before the NBA Trade Deadline.
BRANDON WAHLBERG: I’m pretty disappointed. I mean, I’d rather them do nothing than make a small trade that might kind of screw things up. If they were going to make a deal, it was Jimmy Butler, for me. I wanted them to bring Jimmy to Boston.
DP: I look at what transpired before the trade deadline, I look at the Celtics doing absolutely nothing, and I guess I’m just starting to think about what the plan is. Is the plan to keep the Brooklyn pick, which, the odds are it’s going to be the No. 1 overall pick? If the Celtics are set on making that pick, why would you sign Al Horford? I ask that question because, what are you going to do with Isaiah Thomas? He’s a free agent after next year. If he keeps playing like this, he’s going to be a max player. At least, he deserves to be.
BW: Absolutely. If he plays 80 percent of what he’s doing this year, next year, he’ll get a max deal.
DP: The top-two projected players in the draft are point guards. So are you drafting a point guard at No. 1 overall and keeping Isaiah and signing him to a max deal? Is that where the Celtics are at right now? Because to me, that doesn’t seem like a very wise strategy. Look, I wanted the Celtics to trade that pick and go get, like you said, Jimmy Butler. I wanted them to go get Paul George. But if you are going to make this pick and it’s going to be a point guard, to me, the thought process would be to then try and trade Isaiah Thomas.
BW: Unless something happens in the NCAA Tournament that drastically changes. If Jayson Tatum goes off for Duke, he could potentially jump in there because he was the No. 1 or 2 prospect coming in. But, I think there’s still hope to trade that in the offseason. I think that really happens, and I think Butler will still be the guy. I think it all depends on what happens with Chicago at the end of this year. Because Chicago is slowly breaking down the team. Tom Thibodeau is gone. And they just traded Taj Gibson, who was close with Butler. It just seems like they’re slowly breaking the team down around him. And I think he still could be moved in the offseason.
DP: I think the Brooklyn pick, at least this year’s, has turned out to be Danny Ainge’s own worst enemy. And I think that combines with the Cousins trade, where that’s an absolute steal for New Orleans. I think he sees that and says to himself, “I’m not giving up this pick.” I also think he feels that he’s getting shafted by other general managers, because other general managers know he has this Brooklyn pick. And any time they’re calling Ainge, they’re going, “We want that pick.” Other teams know that the Celtics want to make a trade and need to make a trade, and they know that they have those Brooklyn picks, so they’re not going to settle for anything less when they’re talking to the Celtics.
BW: I feel that Danny is in no rush to trade the Brooklyn picks because he’s seen how far this team has come. If anyone out there can say they saw this team being the No. 2 seed in the East just four years after that Brooklyn trade, they’d be a liar. This team is so far ahead of schedule of what they should have been when they got rid of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, that Danny shouldn’t be in a rush. He shouldn’t do anything that he thinks is giving up too much. This team is in better shape than it should be, and I think he takes solace in a lot of things he sees around the league. I mean, the year before Golden State won the NBA championship, they were knocked out in the first round. So, it just takes some coming together.
DP: When I look at the the deadline, I ask myself, “What is it that Danny Ainge needed to do to help this team compete with Cleveland?”
BW: First and foremost, another go-to scorer that could create his own shot.
DP: Bingo. And it sucks to even think about it, because I would have loved to see Jimmy Butler in a Celtics uniform. I think that if you lose a playoff series against Cleveland, as currently constituted, it would be because the Celtics lacked an elite scorer on that wing that could help — with Isaiah — keep up with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. I think if you got Butler, you could then add a big that would be serviceable enough where he could give you enough rebounding and enough defense, to where you’d then be able to keep up with the Cavaliers in a seven-game series.
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