By now, you’ve seen Woj’s article that Avery Bradley and a 2nd round pick have been traded to the Detroit Pistons for Marcus Morris. While everyone understands why Ainge made the necessary move, it’s clear that he did not get equal value for one the best defenders in the league.
Marcus is not Markieff, so don’t expect Markieff’s twin to make the same impact that he did in the 2nd round of the playoffs against the Celtics. Marcus has never had higher than 14.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg, or 43.4 FG%. Don’t get me wrong, I think that he’ll be an asset to the Celtics when his minutes cut back from 30-35 to about 20-25 — most likely improving his per 36 ratings — but that production doesn’t equal Avery Bradley (plus a 2nd rounder).
Morris does have another year on the books at just $5 million, which is nice for a team that will have to pay Isaiah and Smart next year. But if we look a little harder, we can find another guy with a very similar contract situation that would’ve been just a little better for the Celtics.
Buried in the Woj report on ESPN was two other suitors that wanted Bradley: the Lakers and Clippers. In L.A., we find our guy.
Patrick Beverly also makes a little over $5 million each of the next two years, and he’s a flat out better player than Marcus Morris. What’s more is he can fill in the perimeter defender role that Bradley had. And I bet that Doc Rivers would love to have someone he’s already coached, since that seems to be his defining metric on whether or not he signs someone.
There are two flaws with that hypothetical trade, so far. First, Doc Rivers the GM has been pretty dumb at times, but he’s not dumb enough to give up 2 years of Beverley for 1 year of Bradley. There would have to be another asset thrown in there, but I’m totally fine with that. Ainge had to give up a 2nd rounder for Morris. Surely a 1st for Beverley is more appealing. Maybe give the Clippers their future 1st rounder back? Done.
Second, Bradley makes a little too much. The Clips would need to add about $1.5 or $1.6 in salary to make the deal work because they’re over the cap. Either they could throw a minimum guy into the deal — which may make the Celtics have to trade Rozier or Jackson to someone else, or the Celtics and Clips could find a third team with some cap space.
Doc was clearly interested in Avery, and Danny Ainge would clearly love a perimeter defender to take AB’s spot. Maybe they tried to work this one out and the minor issues I just reviewed were actually major issues, but I know that I’d be far happier giving up slightly more for Patrick Beverley than I am getting Marcus Morris.
Avery Bradley was a true Celtic. Ever since the Celtics drafted him 19th overall in 2010, coming off an excruciating loss in the 2010 Finals, Bradley has been everything the Celtics could have hoped for and FAR more.
It’s easy to forget now, but the Celtics may have snuck by the Miami Heat in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals if Bradley didn’t go down with injuries to both shoulders that required surgery soon after the season. He already made a huge impact in just his second year, and he just kept on improving. Look at how he’s added something to his offensive game every year and improved steadily:
And of course, these numbers you see above mostly have to do with his worst side of the ball. Bradley has been a defensive beast since entering the league, and he’s easily one of the best perimeter defenders in the game. I remember hearing somewhere that Kyrie Irving admitted that Bradley guards him the best of anyone in the league, and it shows. I will always maintain that, on March 1, 2017 during a nationally televised Cavs-Celtics game in Boston, Avery Bradley played the best defense that I’ve ever seen anyone played in a game. Here are some highlights:
it makes sense that the Celtics had to trade him, and I’m glad they were able to get someone who’s actually on a roster, giving them one less spot to fill with minimum guys. I knew a trade of Smart, Bradley, or Crowder would happen… but man, it sucks more than I realized to see Bradley go.
Thanks for everything, AB. You will be missed.