Tuesday 28th March 2017,
The Hoop Doctors

Celtics May Have Passed on Serge Ibaka Trade Because They Didn’t Want to Deal…Terry Rozier

Celtics May Have Passed on Serge Ibaka Trade Because They Didn’t Want to Deal…Terry Rozier

Terry Rozier

How high is Boston Celtics team president Danny Ainge on the franchise’s assets?

Incredibly high.

Probably too high.

Though the Toronto Raptors ultimately swung a trade for Serge Ibaka, the Celtics were involved in negotiations with the Orlando Magic. And according to Celtics Blog’s Jared Weiss, they might’ve got him if it they weren’t so damn invested in…Terry Rozier:

It’s easy to understand this on some level. If the Celtics hold serve for the rest of the season, they’ll go into the summer with max space and, thus, the ability to add an impact free agent or two. They can then turn around and offer up the same package for a star that they would now, only one of the Brooklyn Nets picks would be an actual player rather than a pick.

But that logic only tracks if we’re talking about the Chicago Bulls or Indiana Pacers demanding one or both selections for Jimmy Butler or Paul George, respectively. If the price of landing Ibaka—a fantastic fit on both sides of the floor next to Al Horford—was Rozier and Boston’s own 2018 pick or the Los Angeles Clippers’ 2019 selection, then the Celtics appear to have missed an opportunity. You can turn Rozier, one of those choices and Amir Johnson or Jonas Jerebko into Ibaka without suffering from buyer’s remorse.

The Celtics’ reported reluctance is that much weirder knowing they could just draft a point guard this summer who’s at or close to Rozier’s level. Three of the consensus top-four picks are floor generals, and Brooklyn’s pick is going to land in the top three. So the argument that Boston is worried about Marcus Smart’s next contract (extension-eligible this summer, restricted free agent in 2018) doesn’t really track.

Maybe the Celtics get a deal done if they’d known about Kevin Love’s injury before the fact. Word broke on the Ibaka trade about 10 minutes after the Cleveland Cavaliers delivered their news, leaving little time for the Celtics to bring Toronto-Orlando talks to a halt.

Then again, the Celtics already have the East’s second-best record. Maybe they’re confident enough in this core, exactly how it is, to prioritize cap space over a midseason acquisition. And, knowing they will still be able to piece together blockbuster packages after free agency unfolds this summer, it’s hard to fault them for that.

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