AP Photo/Elise Amendola
The core of the Celtics remains intact after Thursday's trade deadline.SAN FRANCISCO -- Rapid reaction after the trade deadline appears to have passed without the Boston Celtics making a move:
WHAT IT MEANS
When Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Wednesday night in Oakland that he believed the team would be fully intact when the deadline passed, he wasn't lying. The Celtics appear to have resisted any temptation to either splurge on an addition (which would have required forfeiting future assets) or break up their core (which would have essentially suggested they weren't contenders this season). Rivers seems to believe this team can contend as currently constituted. "If we’re healthy, especially all of our starters, I like who we are," he said. "I like our team, I like our team spirit." With the Celtics playing inspired ball in the second half of the season -- winning eight of 10 since the All-Star break -- the team seems content to lean on the talent they have and hope to rekindle some of that postseason magic while giving the core of this team their last rodeo (all while maintaining that future financial flexibility they've worked so hard to preserve).
The Celtics are still in the market for a big man, but will turn their attention to the buyout scrapheap. The waiver deadline for playoff eligibility is little more than a week away (March 23), meaning Boston can examine who becomes available (will the Hornets buy out Chris Kaman?) during the next eight days and decide if any interest them (it's worth noting that buyout players like Troy Murphy and Carlos Arroyo were disappointments after joining the team via that route a year ago). The Celtics have some work to do, anyhow, with a need to consider potential buyouts for Chris Wilcox and Jermaine O'Neal in order to free the necessary roster space to add another body. Wilcox will miss the remainder of the season as he preps for aortic surgery on March 29, while O'Neal and his ailing left wrist remained in a holding pattern as the team explored options for his expiring $6.2 million contract at the deadline.
It's rare that the Celtics let the deadline pass quietly, but in recent weeks, both Rivers and Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge have stressed the need to be disciplined, with a goal of not erasing all the cap space they're set to free up this offseason. Yes, the team could have used some additional bench talent and clearly it needs another big man. But the asking price likely didn't match up with the value of the team's future assets, particularly with only 45 days left in the regular season (and rotations set to tighten up in the playoffs). All in all, it's not particularly surprising that the Celtics were quiet on this day. Boston will dance with the one that brought it.