By Sean Kennedy (@PhillyFastBreak)Some interesting news hit the NBA rumor mill yesterday, something I’m sure perked Sam Hinkie’s ears up like a dog hearing ‘go for a walk’ (or more likely, he’s known about for some time already).
Report: Celtics willing to trade first rounder to dump Gerald Wallace http://t.co/rvJkLoDRC3
— Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) April 27, 2015
Once an NBA All-Star, Wallace is now firmly in the twilight of his career. He appeared in just 32 games this past season with Boston, scoring a grand total of 35 points. Wallace received a token 4 minutes of action in the Celtics’ recent 4-game sweep at the hands of the Cavaliers. He’s owed $10.1M in 2015-16, the last year of a 4-year deal, after which he’ll likely hang up his shoes for good (which is a weird saying, does anyone actually hang up their shoes?). Not exactly close to the cap themselves, the Celtics would likely only make the move if they’were close to a deal with a max-level free agent and needed the extra space.
The Sixers under the Hinkie regime have displayed no reluctance to take on large contracts in order to stockpile draft picks, most notably the deal to grab Oklahoma City’s first-rounder in which they’ll still be paying $12M for JaVale McGee next season. Unlike McGee, Wallace has reportedly been a great locker room presence with the Celtics, the phrase ‘coach on the sidelines‘ has been thrown around. He could be the roster’s veteran replacement for Jason Richardson and/or Luc Mbah a Moute, or the Sixers could simply waive him as they have McGee, Eric Maynor, and others.
Like Philadelphia, Boston has made a habit of grabbing as many draft picks as possible in recent years; the Celtics could have as many as 6 1st-round picks in the next two drafts:
2015: 16th pick (their own); 28th pick (Clippers)
2016: Their own pick; Brooklyn (unprotected); Dallas (Top-7 protected); Minnesota (top-12 protected, reverting to two 2nd-round picks if not conveyed next year)
In my opinion, the Sixers should do this deal if they can get their hands on either of Boston’s picks, or the Brooklyn or Dallas selections. Both Boston and Brooklyn will likely pick in the teens next year, while Dallas could conceivably fall into the lottery in the crowded Western Conference depending on what happens with their glut of free agents.
All in all, it seems like Philadelphia is at least one more year away from making any sort of significant move in free agency. With that in mind, the team has the cap space, so it might as well use it to grab some more future draft capital. If the Celtics decide this is a move they need to make, hopefully the Sixers step in and are the team to take advantage.