Celtics get slight edge in big trade with Timberwolves
Posted: Friday January 27, 2006 12:45AM; Updated: Friday January 27, 2006 2:27AM
Trade Analysis: Szczerbiak, Davis in seven-player deal
Wally Szczerbiak -- SF
Michael Olowokandi -- C
Dwayne Jones -- C
Future 1st-round pick
Ricky Davis -- SG
Mark Blount -- C
Marcus Banks -- PG
Justin Reed -- F
Two 2nd-round picks
WHY THE CELTICS MADE THE DEAL
WHY THE T'WOLVES MADE THE DEAL
Why wouldn't they? While it's not exactly going to make his team a contender in the East, Celtics president Danny Ainge couldn't pass on this one. Boston gets a former All-Star in Szczerbiak, a former No. 1 overall pick in Olowokandi (with an expiring contract, to boot) and a future No. 1 draft pick. Meanwhile, it gets rid of three somewhat disgruntled players. Boston fans will miss Davis' athleticism and crowd-pleasing dunks, but they will appreciate Szczerbiak's fiery nature and outside shooting touch. Wally World does play the same style and position as Paul Pierce, but he made it work in Minnesota with Latrell Sprewell two years ago. Meanwhile, Olowokandi gives Boston a more legit 7-foot low-post presence than it had in Blount. In the last year of his contract, he should be motivated by a fresh start. If not, the Celtics can let him go or use him in a sign-and-trade.
Hopefully, to make Kevin Garnett happy. Otherwise it doesn't make much sense. Davis is a talented player, maybe even as good as Szczerbiak. His ability to slash to the basket and get out on the break adds a dimension the T'wolves could use. But Davis is also something of a head case, and he's not a pure shooter like Wally World. The good news is he's not as prickly as Szczerbiak, who clashed with KG at times over the years. Perhaps president Kevin McHale wanted to toss a bone to Garnett to keep him happy so he is less likely to demand a trade after the season. But if Blount sleepwalks through games like he did much of the time in Boston the past two years, KG isn't going to see any difference between him and Olowakandi. Meanwhile, the T'wolves will be on the hook for the rest of Blount's contract (four more years, $28 million).
THE BOTTOM LINE by SI.com's Marty Burns
Obviously this isn't going to make a big difference for either team. But Ainge got the better of his old pal McHale in this one. If coach Doc Rivers can find a way to play Szczerbiak and Pierce together, and Olowokandi can provide a little low-post scoring, the Celtics could get back in the playoff chase in the wide-open East. If not, the Celtics at least have picked up a future No. 1 pick while getting rid of Blount's bloated contract. The T'wolves, meanwhile, are gambling that Blount reverts to his form of two years ago (doubtful) and that Banks suddenly blossoms into a starting-caliber point guard (even more doubtful). More likely, neither will occur and McHale will be scrambling again next summer to add the right pieces around Garnett.