Well this is becoming increasingly familiar.
As the NBA Draft drew closer, the majority of eyes were on the Boston Celtics. With their trade exemptions and future draft picks, they were the best placed team to make some form of big deal. Many were expecting a move for Kevin Love. Others were still convinced that Rajon Rondo was about to leave Boston.
Then draft day arrived. The Celtics drafted Marcus Smart and James Young. And that was that. No deals. No trades. Just like the last two trade deadline days, people expected the Celtics to make a big move, and then remained quiet.
One thing then has become a little clearer – Brad Stevens' second year as head coach of the Celtics will be another rebuilding year.
The biggest asset the C's possessed in order to make a big-name trade was their lottery draft pick. Now they have used that to draft Marcus Smart, there's little the C's have to offer to tempt any potential trading partners, including the Minnesota Timberwolves with a certain Kevin Love.
The core of the Celtics team is now very young, with Smart and Young joining the likes of Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk. There is still time for Ainge to bring in some veterans before the end of trade season, but they won't be big names. Some people are suggesting that the Celtics could make a late trade Garnett-style, but many forget that the KG trade involved a draft day deal for Ray Allen.
The Celtics have only one valuable commodity left that can make a big trade, and that's Rajon Rondo. The drafting of Marcus Smart has certainly raised many questions. Both players have very similar strengths and weaknesses, they play the same position, and the C's have so much depth already at the guard position that bringing in Smart as a backup seems unlikely.
The rookie from Oklahoma State has said that he would be more than willing to play alongside Rondo in a two-guard system, and has publicly said a lot of positive things about his new teammate, but still many questions remain. If Smart is a Rondo replacement, then a big deal could still be made.
Having said that, there are a few positives when you consider Smart and Rondo playing side by side. Smart has had a fairly high steal and rebound rate while at Oklahoma State, meaning that the two guards together could be quite a formidable force. They'll be able to force turnovers and put pressure on their opponents, which is certainly something that Brad Stevens will find very appealing.
The only thing that is missing from Smart's game is a convincing jump short, but that is something that will inevitably get better with NBA experience. While rumors are still floating around about Rondo's future, chances are he will remain in Boston for at least one more season. What seems much more likely is that Avery Bradley could be heading for the exit. He can easily be dealt in exchange for a veteran player before the end of July, or he could be simply allowed to leave as a restricted free agent.
Either way, before the draft the Celtics had many options on the table. Now they only have a few. Smart and Young are both good players that can improve the C's, but that's something that won't really be evident for a year or so.
In the meantime, the Celtics have the rest of the trade season to figure things out. Regardless of what happens, the second year of the Boston Celtics rebuild is starting to take shape.