The Jordan Era Begins. Err, Crawford, that is.

As the dust settles on this year’s NBA Trade Deadline, there’s one thing we know for certain: the Celtics are a better team than they were yesterday.

Jordan Crawford: newest Celtic

Jordan Crawford: newest Celtic

Right around 2 pm eastern, an hour before the deadline, The Celtics swung a deal with the Washington Wizards to acquire third-year guard Jordan Crawford. In exchange for the talented young scorer, Boston sent the expiring contract of veteran C Jason Collins as well as the expiring contract of injured guard Leandro Barbosa to Washington. Rookie C Fab Melo was originally thought to be included in the trade, but Washington ultimately decided it wanted the cap space trading Crawford and acquiring Collins’ expiring contract would provide.

Crawford is in the third year of his 4 year, $5.5 million rookie contract, and will be a restricted free agent when his contract expires following the 2014 season, meaning the Celtics can match any offer another team makes and retain Crawford should they choose to do so at that time. Crawford also has a club option in 2014 for just over $3 million.

With the emergence of rookie phenom Bradley Beal in Washington at the shooting guard position, Crawford became expendable.

Disappointed with the team’s decision, Crawford had been relegated to bench duties for the past few weeks and wasn’t seeing much court time.

The former 27th overall pick has averaged 14.5 points per game in his career. This season, he is averaging 13.7 points and 3.5 assists. Crawford is most notably remembered for a monstrous 2009 dunk on LeBron James at a Nike camp that Nike reportedly didn’t want to get out. Several reporters’ tapes were confiscated, per the request of James according to people at the game. Some video did leak out though. Check it out below, right at about :34 seconds:

What does this mean for the Celtics?

Well, Crawford is a terrific scorer whose talent allows him to score in bunches, nearly at will. He’s shot 43% from the field this season and provides excellent depth for the Celtics bench, as well as at the guard position where they were a bit depleted following torn ACLs for both starting point guard Rajon Rondo and Barbosa. He’s also a cheap, team controlled, young scoring guard who is a nice piece for any rebuilding efforts the Celtics make, as well as a nice contributor for this team as they attempt to make another deep playoff run.

With Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee the starting guards, you have to think Crawford’s duties will be on the second team with Jason Terry. If Crawford excels and impresses coach Doc Rivers, he’ll earn more playing time. For now though I can’t see him getting an overwhelming share of the minutes. He’s nice depth, especially if anyone gets into foul trouble or injured, but this trade probably opens up more playing time for someone else…

Let the Fab Melo Era Begin!

Okay, so maybe I like this guy way more than I should, but Fab Melo has the raw potential to be the future defensive face

Fab Melo: Shot-Blocking Machine

Fab Melo: Shot-Blocking Machine

of this franchise. He isn’t terrible offensively, and has terrific defensive instincts. The guy is a legitimate 7-footer who looks more imposing on the court than anyone else when he’s out there. He’s listed at 7′ even, but I’d give him a few inches, for sure. He also set an NBA D-League Record with 14 blocks in a game, which ohbytheway he recorded a triple-double in. Then, in his next game, he had 32 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 blocks – something only 3 players ever accomplished at the NBA level. He’s averaging 11 points, 6.8 rebounds, and an astounding 3.4 blocks per game.

The point in this Melo gushing? He will very likely slide into the minutes left open by Collins, something that can only make him a better player under Kevin Garnett’s tutelage. Am I excited? HAH. What an understatement.

Of course, this could be a preemptive strike to signing a veteran forward like Kenyon Martin, essentially an older version of Josh Smith, who is rumored to be drawing interest from Miami after they traded reserve C Dexter Pittman to Memphis.

You decide: Was this a good trade for the Celtics? Vote below!

Celtics Deadline-Day Trade Rumblings

Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are among the Celtics who cold be traded today

Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are among the Celtics who cold be traded today

Just about every Celtic has been rumored to be on the block the last few days as today’s 3 pm eastern NBA Trade Deadline rapidly approaches. I’ll try to keep you up to date as anything changes or gets reported throughout the day, so check back for details.

Here’s the latest:

Update 3:30 pm

As a slew of deals get reported following the deadline, word has just come through that Boston has sent C Jason Collins to Washington as part of the deal. His contract, which was only for $1.35 million this season, expires at the end of the season. This gives Washington and Boston a tiny bit more cap flexibility, and may mean one phenomenal thing for the Celtics: THE FAB MELO ERA HAS BEGUN!! Of course we’ll have to wait and see how Doc Rivers handles his roster, but, for now, things look promising in terms of playing time for Melo who you’d think would at least get Collins’ minutes – an increase from what he’s getting now.

Update 2:40 pm

Only 20 minutes remaining until the 3pm eastern deadline. Nothing new has come up about the Celtics, but as Bill Simmons tweeted “actual deals rarely get leaked as rumors before they happen.” It’s been silent on the KG/Pierce fronts for the most part. Could mean nothing is happening, could just mean no one has gotten off the phone to leak anything to a reporter. Ainge could be in process of getting Garnett to waive his no trade clause. Personally, I don’t think anything else major will go down for the Celtics, but we’ll see.

Update 2:03 pm

The Celtics will send only Leandro Barbosa’s expiring contract to Washington for Jordan Crawford, per reports. GREAT deal for the C’s. Really a steal.

Update 2pm

We have a trade! The Celtics have reportedly acquired Jordan Crawford from the Wizards, although, unlike previous reports, it looks like Fab Melo is NOT part of the deal. We’ll see what is sent back to Washington, but right now I love this deal. Crawford is solid bench scoring for the Celtics, and they get to keep Melo. I still think there could be more to this, but without Rondo and Barbosa the C’s are somewhat short at guard. Stay tuned.

Update 1:22 pm

Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that talks between the Celtics and Wizards for guard Jordan Crawford are heating up again. Same players as before – Fab Melo would likely go in the deal.

I don’t quite understand this trade, unless it’s a precursor to something else. Maybe there’s an unmentioned third team and this is part of a bigger deal for Atlanta’s Josh Smith? Could Crawford be part of another deal and swung somewhere else so Ainge doesn’t have to give up more than he wants to? Maybe Crawford goes to New Jersey in a Pierce deal as well, and they send the extra first rounder he wants in exchange for Melo and someone from the Nets. We’ll see how this plays out.

Update 1:10 pm

David Alridge from TNT is reporting the Clippers are unlikely to make any big deal today, saying the team likes their chemistry and depth and wants to preserve that. That most likely means management feels that way, but if your head coach and superstar point guard are calling for a trade, I’d question that chemistry. Garnett undoubtedly helps them, although I was personally shocked to hear of Jordan being involved. He had lots of potential, but hasn’t seemed to find it. Garnett would help him, but he’ll likely be dealt in any deal for KG. We’ll see.

Update 12:30 pm

Kevin Garnett to the Clippers has been back and forth and changed about a million times at this point, but there’s new life. The back story is that KG was originally rumored to be on the table for backup PG Eric Bledsoe and SG Caron Butler. That was shot down fairly quickly. Then, over All-Star Weekend in Houston, the deal resurfaced, but this time for Bledsoe and talented young center DeAndre Jordan, who has what’s left of a $40 million contract left. A bit pricey, but talented and still cheaper than Garnett. Rumor said Clipper’s coach Vinny del Negro would love to have Garnett for Bledsoe and Jordan, but management wouldn’t do it so it was called off. Now, the Herald’s Steve Bulpett says things are heating up again, and other rumors report Chris Paul has asked for Kevin Garnett. KG would have to waive his no-trade clause for any deal to go through.

Paul Pierce has also been thrown around quite a bit, as reported last night. According to sources, Boston was the one who initiated that deal to Brooklyn, and they were considering it. Boston reportedly wanted an extra player and draft pick, which staled things. Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix is reporting that Ainge is not simply trying to dump Pierce, but looking for expiring contracts and draft picks as well, a steep price that likely won’t be paid. Nothing is out of the question though, and if teams get desperate, he may get his asking price.

ESPN’s Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) is reporting via Twitter that the Celtics are pursuing Tyreke Evans of the Sacremento Kings, a former 4th overall picks and very talented guard. My guess is that young big man Demarcus Cousins would be involved in any deal as well, but that’s purely speculation. The Kings have been in sort of a fire-sale the last few days, so you never know who could be available and how cheap they might come.

Just after Stein tweeted that though, Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports tweeted that both Evans and Cousins had been given the impression that they would not be traded. We’ll see what happens.

The Celtics have also been rumored to be interested on Wizards scoring guard Jordan Crawford. In his third year in the league, Crawford is shooting a healthy 43% from the field, but is probably best known for his dunk on Lebron James that Nike didn’t want anyone to see.

If any deal is done for Crawford, it would probably be for Fab Melo and Leandro Barbosa, according to sources.

Also, if you missed it, USA Today claims that Rajon Rondo‘s agent has been assured by Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge that he will not be traded.

Celtics Moving Pierce?

Paul Pierce's hours in Celtic green may be numbered

Paul Pierce’s hours in Celtic green may be numbered

In a recent report by Yahoo! NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets are reportedly discussing a deal that would send beloved Celtics 15 year veteran Paul Pierce to Brooklyn. The package from Brooklyn would send forward Kris Humphries, talented young guard Marshon Brooks, and a  first round pick. It’s been speculated that Boston would also send rookie forward Fab Melo in the deal in an effort to save Boston’s future draft supply and not return any picks of their own.

This package from the Nets is the same deal that has been reportedly offered to the Hawks for swingman Josh Smith.

Personally, I’m in a love/hate relationship with this deal. It’s hard to imagine Paul Pierce playing anywhere but Boston, and will hurt to see if it ultimately happens. But is this a good deal? Well, it clears a lot of cap room…sort of. Humphries just signed a 2 year, $24 million dollar contract this past offseason with Brooklyn, meaning he is due $12 million next season and then off the books. He’s a terrific rebounder when he plays, and time with Kevin Garnett never hurt anyone’s performance. Brooks, while a terrifically talented scorer, still has a lot to prove. With Courtney Lee and Avery Bradley secured for the future at relatively cheap prices, it’s hard to see a spot for Brooks on this current roster, although with the absence of point guards Rajon Rondo and Leandro Barbosa for the remainder of the season, he’s almost certainly see a good deal of court time. Brooks is owed about $5 over the next two seasons, and will be an unrestricted free agent following that season, meaning the Celtics have the right to match any offer made to him in free agency if they chose to do so.

Pierce on the other hand is still owed approximately $30 million dollars fully guaranteed over the next two seasons, should he decide to play out the entire contract. This deal is not about clearing cap space for Brooklyn, it’s about finding a reliable wing scorer for their team. Outside of Pierce’s contract, the deal is pretty sweet from Brooklyn’s vantage point, especially if they manage to steal Melo in the deal. This mean’s any thought of them buying out Pierce, effectively allowing him to return to Boston (a la Gary Payton in 2004-2005) is out of the picture. If Pierce gets traded, it’s for good.

Personally, I don’t think I would take the deal. There’s no guarantee what talent that first rounder will contain, and it’s not likely to be a lottery selection now that the Nets are a competitive playoff team. Plus, I really think Fab Melo has an incredibly bright future in the NBA, and whatever tutelage he can soak up from Kevin Garnett will do that future a world of good. And then there’s Pierce, who is playing out of his mind practically averaging a triple-double in the wake of the Rondo injury. I’m nearly teary-eyed thinking of it.

The NBA Trade Deadline is tomorrow (Thursday) at 3 pm.

So, would you make the deal? Vote below and voice your opinion in the comments section!

Stupid Is As Stupid Doesn’t

What me, the Red Sox Front Office, and Emma Watson have in common.

The new logo for Red Sox Nation

I want to Believe in this team. I also want to date Emma Watson. Fortunately for my love life, Emma Watson seems more plausible right now. Unfortunately, both of these feats are realistically incredibly hard to accomplish. The Trade Deadline looms less than two hours away right now, and one thing is glaringly obvious: in a trade market more active than in recent years, the Red Sox have done nothing.

On paper, they’re unbeatable. This Red Sox team, before looking at records, statistics or anything else, should be at worst a contender, at best a run away favorite to win big now and for seasons to come. Instead, they stand a game over mediocrity with a 52-51 record and 59 games left. Teams have called asking, inquiring and pushing for trades for the majority of our roster. Thus far, we’ve remained sentimental and blinded by what looks good on paper.

On paper, I’m the best boyfriend any girl could ever dream of scooping up. I’m charming, sincere, handsome, funny, intelligent, love cuddling and will watch The Notebook without complaining. However, upon further examination, I lack the now-ever-important six pack (Thanks a lot, Channing), am subtly, emotionally scarred by the terrible relationships of my past, and would happily give up all material possessions and money I have to live as a poor person and somehow change the world. Perfect? Maybe. Practical? Debatable. Single? Yes, yes I am. Thus far, I haven’t even gotten a reply on Twitter from Ms. Watson, and as far as I know she doesn’t have a clue I exist.

Both the Red Sox Front Office and Emma Watson need a reality check: The Sox aren’t going anywhere but golfing in a few weeks because their lackluster chemistry and poisonous clubhouse atmosphere are hurting them. Emma Watson is missing out on the greatest guy she doesn’t know exists, and should really hire some better secretaries and boyfriend-scouts (side note: do you think that’s a real position? Could I actually get noticed? Does anyone have a connection? anyone? Hello?!) to allow me to save the day and fly into her life with my cape, smile and ‘Mr. Right’ headlines in Perez Hilton’s next article.

That’s why I’m proposing two radical ideas: I’m officially moving to England to pursue my quest of being noticed by Emma, and the Red Sox need to sell high on one or two of their superstars to restock the system with the stars of tomorrow who still love the game more than money and simply want to play their hearts out day-in and day-out in order to send a message and shake up the clubhouse vibe.

So to my life in Massachusetts and my favorite Red Sox players, I bid you farewell and leave you with this quote from All Time Red Sox Great Nomar Garciaparra upon hearing he was traded for the betterment of the team on this day eight short years ago:

“They can take the shirt off my back, but they can’t take away the memories”

It’s nothing personal, it’s just business.

…actually, I should probably take that advice….

Okay, so, I’m not actually moving to England but, hey, I can dream.

And so can Red Sox fans.

Meet The New Guys, Same As The Old Guys

The stars are aligning for the Sox with returns from CF Jacoby Ellsbury (top left), LF Carl Crawford (top center), 2B Dustin Pedroia (top right), 3B Will Middlebrooks (bottom left) and SP Clay Buchholz (bottom right)

As the July 31 Trade Deadline approaches and teams are scrambling to make deals to improve their chances of making the playoffs, the Red Sox are sitting on cloud nine. Most teams are sick over the thought that just one or two little pieces – a corner outfielder here, a starting pitcher there – could drastically, positively influence their (or their rival’s) pennant races and playoff hopes. The Sox, however, have been blessed with immunity to the problems around baseball. If any contender landed a superstar center fielder, a perennial All Star left fielder, an MVP-caliber second baseman, an up-and-coming third base slugger, and a pitcher who when healthy has number 1 starter stuff, they would be the “winners” at the deadline. Now imagine if, somehow, a team acquired all of these pieces. Well, somehow has become reality because that’s exactly what the Red Sox have gotten since the All Star break, with the return of five of their studs from the disabled list or injury.

Ellsbury ((11-31) .355 avg, 5 runs, 3 doubles, 7 games) and Crawford ((6-14), .429avg, .500 OBP, 6 runs, 3 sb, 4 games) in particular have been dynamic at the top of the lineup since their return, while the reliability of Middlebrooks (HR, 2B, 5 RBI in 7 games) and Pedroia (hit, run in 9th last night in first game back) in the middle of the lineup has provided a balance and stability to the Red Sox offensive attack. Combine that with strong performances from Clay Buchholz (14 SO, 0.77 WHIP in 2 starts) since the break, and the Red Sox now have a pitcher to help shoulder the load the offense is currently bearing.

Of course, Adrian Gonzalez has been rumored to be dealing with some secret injuries all season that have plagued his power numbers and batting average, but over the last 3 weeks he has been one of the best hitters in baseball:

“Gonzalez went 2-for-4 and has now hit safely in 23 of his last 24 games. Over that stretch, the first baseman is hitting .408 (40-for-98) with five doubles, three home runs, 19 RBI and 14 runs. Gonzalez has had two hits in the five games he’s played since the All-Star break…”

After last night’s terrific walk-off win for the Red Sox, manager Bobby Valentine said in his press conference: “That’s the most fun the guys had in a long time…It’s a great feeling.”

Sit back, relax and bring on the Blue Jays.