Memo to Brad Stevens: You are the new Michael Dukakis in Massachusetts.
For those too young to remember, a short history lesson: Before he got trampled in the 1988 U.S. presidential election, the former governor of Massachusetts tried to toughen up his softie image by doing a photo op with Army troops, riding on an Abrams M1 tank.
The whole thing was so ludicrous, so obviously staged, that Dukakis riding a tank became a euphemism for anything that seemed so completely out of touch with reality that it bordered on the absurd. It was the epitome of a p.r. move that backfired.
Which brings us to today’s three-team trade sending Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks to Golden State, Joel Anthony and a future possible first-round pick (it will turn into two second rounders if Philadelphia fails to make the playoffs this season and next) to Boston, and Toney Douglas to the Heat, who will shave about $10 million off their operating costs.
Stevens is now driving the tank.
The rookie NBA coach, who enters tonight’s game riding a nine-game losing streak, loses his third-leading scorer (Crawford was averaging 13.7 points per game) as Danny Ainge takes a gamble that the addition of Nerlens Noel and two lottery picks this June will turn the Sixers into a playoff team next season, thereby giving him an additional first-round pick in 2015. (Boston will already have its own pick, plus the Clippers’ pick. And this June, they have their own pick plus Brooklyn’s).
So that’s five first-round picks for the Celtics in 2014 and 2015 (or four if Philly can’t crack the top 8 in the East next season), plus the Nets’ first-round picks in 2016 and 2018 and the right to swap picks with Brooklyn in 2017.
That’s a lot for the Celtics to work with going forward, and I have to give kudos to Ainge for stockpiling the cupboard for the future.
As for Stevens, he’ll always have the memory of sitting in first place in the Atlantic Division in December of 2013, and now he can look forward to avoiding the longest losing streak in league history — 26 by the Cavs in their first season without LeBron.
As for the rest of the trade:
WARRIORS – They were getting very, very little from Douglas (3.7 points, 0.8 assists in 11.0 minutes) as their backup point guard, showing just how much they missed Jarrett Jack after he left as a free agent. Spellchecker enemy Nemanja Nedovic likely steps in as the backup PG, and Crawford becomes a player who can step in as a starter the next time Steph Curry rolls his ankle. As bad as Douglas was, somehow he was the Warriors’ leading backcourt scorer off the bench. They also get to take a flyer on Brooks, who has been a bust since averaging 12.6 points for the Nets as a rookie two seasons ago. A very nice trade by Bob Myers.
HEAT - Is this a signal that Greg Oden is ready to contribute? Or it is merely a way to limit the damage to Micky Arison’s wallet. Anthony became even more worthless than he already was when the Heat signed Chris Andersen midway through last season, and we can debate all day whether Anthony is better or worse than Dexter Pittman. Picking up Douglas, who is a terrific on-the-ball defender, will help the Heat on nights when Dwayne Wade is resting. The Heat will not need Douglas to score.
Chris Sheridan is publisher and editor-in-chief of SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter.