Rarely in sports do we see a trade that is beneficial for both teams. Usually there is a clear divide, there’s a clear winner. However, with the NBA’s latest trade, I think we saw a mutually beneficial deal.
The Boston Celtics are trading guard Avery Bradley and a second-round pick to the Detroit Pistons for forward Marcus Morris, league sources told ESPN.
Let’s look at this critically for a second. The Bradley deal creates the salary-cap space needed to sign free-agent forward Gordon Hayward to a four-year, $128 million maximum contract. This was obviously a necessity for the Celtics, and they needed to create cap room to do so.
Meanwhile, Avery Bradley is in the final year of his contract and was unsure whether he fit long-term financially into Boston's structure. Bradley is highly interested in a long-term deal, and Detroit could be actively persistent in getting that done. I just wonder if the Detroit Pistons are confident they’ll be able to sign him long term. I mean, let’s be honest, Detroit isn’t exactly a prime free agent destination.
But nonetheless, Bradley is the kind of two-way guard that Pistons president and coach Stan Van Gundy has been determined to obtain, and his arrival certainly seems like Pistons guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will be leaving as an unrestricted free agent. Therefore, this trade gave the Pistons flexibility. They don’t have to shell out a max deal for KCP this summer, which a lot of people believed was overvalued.
Detroit will only be paying Bradley $8.8 million this season unless they decide to lock him up long term this offseason. But regardless, the Pistons will have an upgrade over KCP, in my opinion, and at the very least they’ll be shelling out a max deal for an upgraded player in Bradley, OR will have a lot of money to spend next summer. It certainly seems like a great situation for the Pistons.
And meanwhile in Boston, they are a team who is trying to create maximum cap space to continue to build around their duo of Isaiah Thomas and Gordon Hayward. There seems to be more trades in the works. They acquired Marcus Morris, who is also an expiring contract, and will be paying him $3 million less than they’d be paying Avery Bradley this season.
I think from Boston’s stand point, they realized they were not going to be able to lock up Bradley long term. A lot of Celtics fans seem bummed because Bradley is an elite defender and a very good two way player. He has a bright future in this league and will be receiving a max contract in the very near future. But there was just no way Boston could keep him financially.
Again, this definitely seems like a trade in which both teams benefited. It’s rare to see this happen, but it’s a good move for both of these Eastern Conference franchises as they continue to build.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers were aggressive suitors for Bradley in the past 24 hours as well, for those wondering.