Depth at guard and the resurgence of Jeff Green have helped the Celtics remain relevant in the wake of Rajon Rondo's injury, as HoopsWorld's Stephen Brotherston details. Brotherston ponders the chances of a Heat-Celtics clash in the first round, and believes the Celtics would relish another playoff series with Miami. I'm inclined to believe Doc Rivers, who told reporters yesterday, including Mike Petraglia of WEEI.com, that he's not trying to match up with the Heat."Listen, I’m not that dumb," Rivers said. "I’m not the brightest guy but come on. Really, you would love to avoid anyone (like Miami)."
While we wait to find out Boston's first-round opponent, there's plenty of other news from the C's and their Atlantic Division rivals:
In his Weekend Dime piece, ESPN's Marc Stein writes that one of the main reasons for the Wizards dealing Jordan Crawford for Leandro Barbosa's expiring contract - despite Barbosa being out from a season ending injury - was to create more flexibility to increase their chances of retaining Martell Webster this summer. The former Seattle Prep star is arguably having his best pro season in Washington this year, putting up career bests in scoring (11.7), free throw percentage (86.4%), field goal percentage (45.4%), and three-point percentage (43.3%) in 29.3 MPG. Here are a few more tidbits from around the league tonight:
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made his weekly appearance on WEEI radio in Boston to talk about what transpired during the trade deadline as well as his thoughts on the team moving forward. Greg Payne of ESPN Boston has the highlights, including Ainge's thoughts on why Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce weren't dealt, the CBA having a significant impact on the trade deadline, the long-standing interest in Jordan Crawford, and whether or not he would have been able to convince Garnett to waive his no-trade clause. Here's more out of the Atlantic Division tonight:
A complete recap of trades that were completed before Thursday's trade deadline:
12:46pm: The Wizards have agreed to a deal that will send Jordan Crawford to the Celtics, reports TNT's David Aldridge (via Twitter). Boston will send Leandro Barbosa to the Wizards, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). The teams are still working on the details of the trade, but Fab Melo will not be headed to Washington, Aldridge hears (Twitter link). Crawford "desperately" wanted the Wizards to trade him, tweets Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio, and that's in line with previous reports indicating the swingman was unpleased with his reduced role of late.
The Mavs reportedly jumped into discussions for Crawford as well, but the Celtics seemed to have the inside track as the deadline approached. An Eastern Conference executive told Michael Lee of the Washington Post last night there was likely "very little" the Wizards could get for Crawford, and indeed that appears to be the case, as Washington is getting a player who's out for the year with a torn ACL in his left knee. In taking back Barbosa's expiring deal for the minimum salary, the Wizards essentially clear Crawford's salary, worth $1.2MM this year and $2.6MM next season, off their books. The Wizards had an open roster spot going into the trade, but they could waive Barbosa at any point this season to free up more room if they wish, though they'll have to keep paying Barbosa's salary either way.
Adding Crawford for Barbosa adds a little salary to Boston's books, but still allows them to stay below their $74.307MM hard cap for the season. Following his injury, the C's sought to use Barbosa to increase their flexibility, as they considered waiving him to create room on the roster, or, as Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe suggested, using him as trade ballast as they're doing with the Wizards. Nonetheless, a one-for-one deal involving Barbosa was unexpected, Washburn tweets.
Crawford is averaging 13.4 points and 3.7 assists this year, similar to the third-year player's career numbers. He's seen his minutes drastically reduced, to 12.4 per game this month from 35.8 in December, with the return of John Wall from injury and the emergence of rookie Bradley Beal. He was used on the ball as the Wizards struggled to find a solution in Wall's absence at point guard this year, so perhaps he could help Boston's current shorthanded situation at the position.
Chuck Myron of Hoops Rumors contributed to this post.
12:45pm: Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com is hearing that the Mavs aren't heavily involved in the hunt for Crawford (Twitter link). It looks to me as if a deal between the Celtics and Wizards that swaps Melo and Crawford could be the most likely outcome.
12:21pm: The Mavs and Celtics continue to lead the way for Crawford, according to Sam Amick of USA Today (via Twitter). However, talks may go down to the wire, as the Wizards are "waiting this one out," tweets Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.
11:20am: We can add another team to the mix for Crawford. According to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today (via Twitter), the Mavericks have also discussed a Crawford deal with the Wizards.
9:37am: The Celtics are looking to add perimeter scoring and are considering Jordan Crawford as a target, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Broussard reports that the Celtics are dangling Fab Melo in trade talks, as we heard yesterday.
For his part, Crawford appears to be unhappy with his role in Washington and would likely welcome a trade. In discussing both Melo and Crawford as trade candidates, I noted that their small salaries may make it difficult for the C's and Wizards, respectively, to find a match. However, since Crawford's $1.2MM salary is a near match for Melo's $1.25MM, it wouldn't be hard to build a deal around the pair.
As the hours tick down to tomorrow's 2:00pm Central trade deadline, Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News is already starting to look ahead to free agency, and he writes that the Cavaliers believe they could make a longshot bid to sign Dwight Howard. That one seems hard to believe, and even Lawrence intimates that it's a little far-fetched. Still, the Cavs were reportedly in the mix for Andrew Bynum last year, and they'll have plenty of cap space this summer, so I suppose it's not entirely out of the realm of possibility.
In the meantime, there's more on potential deadline deals, and here's the latest:
Earlier this week, we heard that the Wizards were shopping Jordan Crawford, and it sounds as if a trade may be the preferred outcome for both the team and the player. According to Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, Crawford isn't pleased with his reduced role in Washington, while Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio says flatly (via Twitter) that Crawford wants to be traded.
Crawford, 24, was seeing major minutes earlier in the season, averaging 19.1 PPG and 6.1 APG in 13 contests in December. However, he has seen his playing time reduced since John Wall returned to the lineup in January and since rookie Bradley Beal has emerged. Recently, Crawford has been removed entirely from the Wizards' rotation.
Last night, Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported that the Wizards aren't interested in taking back long-term salary for Crawford. Still, even if Washington were to take on a multiyear contract in a trade, the cost wouldn't be exorbitant -- Crawford is only earning about $1.2MM this season, so he'd be unable to bring back more than about $1.8MM on his own.
Ken Berger of CBS Sports described the difficulty for the Hawks to find the type of assets they want in exchange for Josh Smith, and GM Danny Ferry has been firm in telling other teams that he's not willing to take back future salary. Atlanta has prioritized draft picks and young players in exchange for their star forward, though other teams have been insistent on including some long-term deals as part of their offers.
The Nets are one interested team that would be hard-pressed to complete a trade before Thursday, as the current CBA would prohibit a luxury taxpayer to complete a sign-and-trade in the offseason. With Brooklyn set to be around $4MM above the tax line this summer, the only way they could acquire Smith after this season would be to significantly shed salary first. Here's more out of Berger's column tonight: