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Trade Rumor: Celtics interested in Nocioni?

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There is a trade rumor coming from Marc Stein of ESPN’s True Hoop Blog that the Kings and 76ers are trying to get the Celtics interested in a 3 way trade.

It would send Andres Nocioni to the Celtics with Tony Allen and Brian Scalabrine heading to Philly, while the hard-to-trade Samuel Dalembert and J.R Giddens goes to the Sacramento Kings. The 76ers would receive Kenny Thomas from the Kings.

According to Stein, the Celtics have been interested in Nocioni since he was traded to the Kings last season.

Over on Celticsblog.com a survey of fans suggests it is a no brainer, with those in favor at 77% as I write this.

Talent-wise, it appears to be an immediate upgrade. Nocioni is kind of like former Celtic Ryan Gomes. Versatile offensive small forward that can play some power forward, but not as proficient on the defensive end. He also has a much bigger salary than Gomes.

Nocioni will get $7.5 mil this year, then $6.85 mil., then $6.6 mil., then a team option for $7.5 mil.

Here are the pluses for the Celtics:

1) Andres is a solid veteran with playoff experience.

2) Slightly taller and with a stronger body than Marquis Daniels. He has only missed significant time in one year – 06-07 he missed 29 games. 80 game player for the rest of his career.

3) More outside offense (37% career three point shooter) to spread the floor.

4) That could help send Wallace back inside more, where he really should be spending more time when the two are on the court together.

5) The Cs have been seeking offers for Tony Allen and J.R. Giddens since training camp. It allows them to move both of them for a player they can use.

6) Nocioni fits a piece they are missing…a solid back up at small forward.

7) Though not strong defensively, he is a hard nosed player. He could possibly fit the Celtics defensive schemes.

8) Andres in 29 years as we speak, so he is an in-betweener that way. He’s a Goldilocksers –
not too young, not too old.

The negatives for the Cs:

1) His contract.

Now…in the aftermath of letting Posey go and Tony Allen’ s disappointing year, I said that the Celtics should have signed Posey and worried about the later years… later. The same can be said here, and Nocioni is younger than Posey. If Danny has been interested in him since last season, I wonder if that has changed at all in light of the salary commitments they added since then.

2) His defense is questionable.
82games.com has him as –4.2 in individual production (14.1 vs 18.2). But that can be misleading. James Posey who absolutely helped the Celtics defensively in the Championship season, while better, still had a negative production number  –3.0 (13.9 vs 16.8). But Posey is well known as a defensive specialist. Nocioni is not.

One message board poster suggested that Andre was responsible for shutting down Kevin Durant the last time the Kings and Thunder played. Granted Kevin shot just 9 for 23 in that game, but Durant scored 37 points, his second highest total of the year. He also was 18-18 from the free throw line, though Nocioni only had three fouls. That suggests that others were guarding KD and were fouling him to stop him.

Two things –
a) Nocioni gives the team 6 more fouls to use
b) Can he become a better defender in the Celtic system? Even if he doesn’t, he still has fouls to give.

A couple of questions:

1) Would a chance to play for a true contender reinvigorate Andres’ game? That question was also asked with Rasheed Wallace, BTW. It should.

2) What other possibilities might be out there, say a solid defensive small forward, something the Celtics really could use?

With the cap going down and as teams drop out of playoff races, will there be an even better opportunity with a bit more patience? Dec 15th is the first date certain players can be moved.

My developing opinion…

If Danny doesn’t have his eye on any other players that might fit better and could become available later, then I would pull the trigger on this.

But understand… Nocioni is not James Posey, Bruce Bowen, Dahntay Jones, Trevor Ariza, nor any other defensive stopper.

I am of the opinion that the Celtics roster is in need of help. I suggested that, and that Danny knows that as well, in this preseason prediction article here.

The recent play of the Celtics has done nothing to change my mind. In fact, it feeds that opinion. I would prefer a younger player, as I think the Cs need some youthful athleticism. Nocioni will 30 years old in a few weeks on November 30th.

But I also believe that they must go ‘all in’ to win this season. Championship opportunities are just too hard to come by – if that is your goal. Garnett will probably never quite return to pre-injury jumping ability. None of three stars are getting younger.

The only thing that changes that is if Danny Ainge already has an eye toward the longer term and realizes that he needs to bring in another top tier player this coming summer to continue to compete for multiple years beyond.

Another outlet is reporting that ESPN is incorrect and nothing is going down with Dalembert.

I like Andres Nocioni’s game. I understand his limitations. While not perfect for what the Celtics need, he does help. They give up some guaranteed 2010 flexibility ($7.5 mil) for help now.

We’ll have to see how this all plays out.

Thomas Halzack

4 Responses

  1. Mauricio says:

    Indeed it is Mev, figured the Argentina comment would give me away. I’m doing OK; glad to see your blog is still going strong!

    Also nice to see the Celtics back in the win column tonight. Now let’s see how they do vs Orlando!!

  2. Thomas Halzack says:

    Hey wait…that is Mev isn’t it?

    It’s been too long, my friend. Hope all is well.

  3. Tom Halzack says:

    Thanks for the comments Mauricio.

    A true green Celtic fan I see. You’re right about the cap room.

    I’m not so sure our reserve unit is a playoff team, but they’d be pretty good, especially against other second units.

    We wouldn’t have cap space, but we’d have the expirings for a trade. The question is…is this the guy we want to spend that kind of money on?…even if he is from the great country of Argentina!?

    I’ll roll with Danny’s decision either way, but I’m hoping we could do a bit better for those dollars.

    Tom

  4. Mauricio says:

    I personally liked the sound of this trade; and not just because he is from Argentina!! Even if Boston held onto Scal, JR and Tony, and let all their last-year contracts expire, we are still over the cap with the 6 contracts that are still on the books. So we wouldn’t have cap space to pick up a major free agent anyway. It makes much more sense to give up 3 guys who are not part of the regular rotation anyway and get a versatile player ready to contribute both as a physical defender and on the offensive end.

    You can never have too much depth, and with Nocioni, House, Daniels, Wallace, Big Baby and Sheldon Williams, we would have a reserve group that could probably make the playoffs on their own. And we would free up two roster spots to add a “true” point guard off the bench, if that were ever needed.

    But this is the real world, and the one writing the checks has to be on board.