His age, his declining production, his huge contract — all these factors are just begging for speculation, but there's really been no indication that it'll amount to anything. At the end of the day, we've heard absolutely nothing from Danny Ainge or anyone else in the C's front office to make us think a deal is imminent.
And we probably won't.
The rumor that continues to float around is Allen to Golden State for Monta Ellis, the 24-year-old guard leading the Warriors with 26.0 points per game. It's a flashy move, one that would shake things up in a major way for both teams.
It's also probably a very, very bad idea.
Trades in the NBA don't happen easily. You can't make a deal willy-nilly, at least not before doing a whole lot of research and some math beforehand. There are too many rules in place.
The Association has restrictions on any trade made by a team that is over the salary cap. The cap this year is set at $57.7 million, and that means 28 of the NBA's 30 teams are over the limit. As such, they're hamstrung in their ability to wheel and deal — no team over the cap can make a trade unless its incoming salaries are within 125 percent of their outgoing salaries. In other words, you have to get equal value in any trade you make.
Allen is in the last year of a five-year, $80 million contract extension that he signed with the Sonics back in 2005. He's making $18,776,860 this season. Ellis signed with the Warriors two summers ago for six years and $66 million — he's got four more seasons to go after this one at $11 million a pop.
The numbers don't add up. There's nearly an $8 million discrepancy between the two contracts, and the Warriors would have to get really creative to make things work. Either they need a third team to get involved and move a few more players, or they need to dump more contracts into the mix.
The only players on the Warriors roster making enough money to even things out are either injured (Raja Bell), inactive (Speedy Claxton) or signed to bulky multiyear contracts (Andris Biedrins, Corey Maggette, Vladimir Radmanovic). No, thank you. The Celtics have no use for any of these players this season, and in terms of actual useful pieces for their basketball team, they'd essentially be dumping Allen for Ellis.
Worth it? I think not.
Ellis' scoring numbers are gaudy, but he hasn't yet developed into a smart, well-rounded basketball player. He hasn't proven that he's ready to be a key player on a title-winning team. Allen proved that two years ago.
If you want the "ubuntu" player, you keep Allen. If you want the proven winner, you keep Allen. If you want the guy you can trust with the clutch shot in the crucial moment … yeah, you guessed it, you keep Allen.
Trading him for Ellis doesn't just hamper your basketball team, though. It hampers your ability to make flexible financial moves down the road.
Four more years at $11 million apiece is a big deal. The Celtics would be making a big commitment to a young player whose game is far from complete. What happens if he doesn't fit into the Celtics' system? What happens if he takes too many shots? That's an expensive mistake.
The Celtics are very close to being a championship-caliber team this season. They don't need a major overhaul — they need to keep their starting five healthy and add a little muscle to their bench. Anything more than that is one step too far.
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