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The Celtics made a deal right at the NBA Trade Deadline, trading seldom-used center Patrick O’Bryant to the Raptors in a three-team deal. Raptors guard Will Solomon is headed to the Kings, and a heavily-protected second round pick is headed to the Celtics.
The Celtics are definitely just clearing room to sign some veteran free agents. Last week, they sent away Sam Cassell just to free up space on the roster, and it appears they have done it again. Danny Ainge is certainly not done wheeling and dealing this season.
O’Bryant, a former top-10 pick, was really ineffective for the Celtics since coming over from the Warriors. PoB has played in 26 games for the C’s this year, averaging 1.5 points and 1.3 rebounds in just over four minutes per game. He never turned into the backup center Ainge was looking for…and consequently is still looking for.
Solomon has played a bit more this season for the Raptors, but Toronto felt they needed more size. The guard has made it into 39 games, averaging 4.9 points and 3.2 assists in about 14 minutes per contest. He gives the Kings a guy that can handle the ball, but will probably not make much of an impact on a terrible team.
I expect Patrick O’Bryant to remain a poor player with the Raptors. He didn’t seem to show much in the way of converting his talent and skill into a good NBA game. He may be one of those players that was good in college but just can’t translate his game to the pros.
Will Solomon is heading to the Kings…and will make no difference on the team’s record. The Kings will still be bad. Either way, it shows that the Kings and Celtics have quite a good team-to-team relationship. They have helped the Celtics clear away roster space recently after this trade and the one for Sam Cassell.
The Celtics now will probably go after Stephon Marbury if he can negotiate a buyout with the Knicks. Also, look for the Celtics to try and grab another big man. Joe Smith was not traded to the Hornets after all, so he may be available if the Thunder buy out his contract. Smith’s addition would be similar to last year’s signing of P.J. Brown. With Smith on the squad, I’d be pretty confident that the Celtics would repeat as Eastern Conference Champions.
Kings: They get a point guard basically for free. They trade away a second round pick that will likely not end up going to the Celtics at all. And to top it off, the Kings helped the Celtics for the second time in a week to clear roster space. How nice of them. Grade: B
Raptors: Toronto gets a big man they apparently thought they needed after the departure of Jermaine O’Neal. To be honest, this trade really doesn’t make much sense for the Raptors except to see if O’Bryant can build on his game while getting more playing time. The trade is an A+ for O’Bryant, who will get a chance to play more as he would’ve never seen minutes with the Celts. The trade for the Raptors, however, grades quite different. Grade: C
Celtics: They now have two free roster spots and it appears they’re clearing space to add a few veteran free agents. I bet Danny Ainge has been on the phone with other teams discussing which players may get bought out, and I expect him to make a move in the next few weeks. This is the easiest grade to hand out. Grade: A- (though, it really depends on who the Celtics pick up and how effective they are).
Important Side Note: Apparently, the Kings will waive big man Mikki Moore to make room for Will Solomon, and the Cavs are expected to make a run. They have a good amount of money left from their mid-level exception, so they may throw some or all of that money at Moore. The Celtics may also look at Moore, but won’t have as much money to give.
Basically, assuming Mikki Moore and Joe Smith get bought out, the Celtics and Cavs will quickly snag them up. The Cavs have the money so they have the control of who they want. If both players are dropped, I expect the Celts to make a hard push for one of them. This certainly bears watching…