Despite the underwhelming play from the Celtics over the first 17 games of the season, they have been far from the biggest disappointment in the Eastern Conference this season. That honor would go to the Washington Wizards, who have stumbled to a 6-11 start with plenty of drama behind the scenes that includes a star player cussing out the head coach, effort issues and plenty of pointing fingers.
These issues, on and off the floor, combined with a massive looming luxury tax bill for the future, have led the Wizards to let opposing teams know they are open for business for nearly every piece on the roster, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com. The Celtics obviously have one of the deepest rosters in the league right now, but it's clearly not meshing to the degree that anyone wanted just yet. It's also apparent that there are some flaws in construction that may or may not need to be addressed based on whether certain players shake out of their funks.
While any type of potential dealing from by Ainge would not be expected to happen for at least another month (most free agents signed this offseason can't be moved until Dec. 15th), it is fair to wonder whether there are any pieces of interest out there that fit Boston's needs and financial restrictions. Let's take stock of whether this is a situation that's worth monitoring.
[caption id="attachment_468565" align="alignnone" width="866"] Screenshot via Basketball-Reference.com[/caption]
TOO EXPENSIVE, NO THANKS
John Wall: Kyrie Irving won't be getting a super max deal this fall, but this is the type of money that he'll be signed for, which is scary for a guy in Wall that has a history of bad knees. Wall may fill up the stat sheet, but he's not a playoff-proven performer or defender, something Irving can hold over him. No upgrade here, so it's an easy pass.
Otto Porter Jr: The Wizards had to max out the young small forward in the summer of 2017 after the Nets used their max salary cap room to offer him a big deal. He's still just 25 years old, but he looks like a highly overpaid role player, averaging just 10.6 points and 5.0 rebounds per game this year. The Celtics can get that kind of production on this roster for about a fifth of the cost.
Austin Rivers: How he managed $12 million per year in a deal a couple seasons after he had his fourth-year rookie option declined by the Pelicans remains one of the great mysteries in the NBA. Oh wait, Doc Rivers ran the front office in LA back then, so mystery solved. In any case, Rivers earns about three times as much as he's worth, and he's not an upgrade over anyone in the Boston backcourt.
Ian Mahinmi: Next time you complain about Al Horford's contract, realize this was the next-best big available on the open market after Horford chose Boston over Washington. He's averaging 4.3 points per game over 14 minutes a night while earning nearly $16 million this year. He should be the toughest guy to move on this roster.
DON'T WANT THEM IN THE LOCKER ROOM