|A torn ACL ends Rondo’s season, but are the Celtics sunk?|
In this version of my Atlantic Division roundup, I’m focusing in on the devastating news out of Boston and what the team has for options going forward:
The first option the Celtics have and the most likely route for GM Danny Ainge is to do nothing major, sign a free agent or call up a D-Leaguer and ride out the season with what we have. This would require putting more on the shoulders of the older veterans KG and PP on the offensive end as well as relying on a point guard by committee rotation.
In terms of potential free agents, it would seem to be a fairly short list that includes old friends Keyon Dooling and Delonte West. Dooling is currently with the team as a special assistant and after yesterdays game he said he would consider a comeback. This would make a lot of sense for both parties as the familiarity with the system, Dooling’s very positive locker room presence, and inspired play at the end of last season make it a good match. Delonte West, although an often troubled young man, is a very solid basketball player who has no weaknesses on the court. He is an above average defensive player and a solid offensive piece. The big question with him is whether or not his personality mixes in with this unit.
There are two potential D-League call-up options for the Celtics if they want to find a cheap alternative . These would include a player within their own system, Andre Barrett, who is averaging a D-League best 11.3 assists per game over his 7 games since signing. He has NBA experience and now being in the C’s farm system, has some knowledge of the offensive and more importantly the defensive schemes that the organization uses. Barrett, is short at 5’11” but has excellent ball handling and passing skills. My worry would be about stopping opposing guards at his smaller stature. The other D-League option would be to sign the Iowa Energy’s Chris Wright not to be confused with the Maine Red Claws power forward who has the same name and has shown NBA level talent of his own. The Energy’s Chris Wright is a solid offensive player, leading the league in assists at 7.4 per game for players who have spent the whole year there. He is a much bigger build than Barrett at 6’1″ and 210 pounds which gives scouts a greater confidence that he could guard players at the next level. Either player would serve primarily as backups of course, but it would be an easy way for Ainge to try someone on a 10-day contract.
The whole sticking put strategy would also put a lot of extra work in the hands of Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, Jason Terry, and Leandro Barbosa, but I actually have a lot of confidence in that unit as long as Doc got the rotations in line to provide Terry and Barbosa defensive help as well as Lee and Bradley offensive help. Different game situations would call for different players, but that is a talented group and they should not be written off. Are the C’s still championship contenders? Well, likely not, but as KG said “ANYTHHHHING IS POSSSSSSIBBBBLLEE”!
“Blowing It Up”
I am strongly against this move, and I’ll explain why, but let’s explore a player who could make a big difference.
First off, I must say that trading Paul Pierce is just not something I’m interested in doing. He has given us his entire career and could be a rare player who spends his whole career with one team. The only caveat to that is of course if he requests a trade so that he has a better shot at competing for his 2nd ring. But, even more than just the loyalty aspect, with the C’s being over the NBA salary cap, we would have to bring back matching salaries in any trade to a team in similar financial standing (which is most competitive teams). Do we really want to take on someones bad contracts to get rid of players. It’s not like the Kings are going to offer all their good young player to match-up with the Celtics for some of our overpaid players, as much as fans would like to add DeMarcus Cousins, it’s just not realistic.
If we were to make a trade, it would likely be for a player who makes 6 million or less, as that would give us a better option to trade Brandon Bass, Courtney Lee, or Jason Terry. Who wants these guys you may ask, and that is the real question we all have. And if we did, would we get back equal talent? Absolutely not, but we could include draft picks to try and get a deal done. One option could be the Toronto Raptors, as Marc Stein tweeted earlier that Kyle Lowry would be a good fit on a cap friendly contract.
The Celtics Get: Kyle Lowry
The Raptors Get: Brandon Bass, Fab Melo, our 2013 1st round choice and a future conditional first
Would the draft picks and Fab Melo be enough to entice the Raptors? I think not, but teams are always looking for inexpensive talent, which they can easily find in the draft thanks to rookie scale contracts. I’m also not sure I want to give up a future first, especially if we are rebuilding a team with a poor record. It just may be too costly to gamble so heavily on the next two seasons.
If the Celtics do decide to blow it up, I’d see a KG to Houston deal as something that he would accept to be reunited with his old pal, the man who drafted him, Kevin Mchale. Houston is under the cap and would not have to give back equal salaries, a rare find for a playoff caliber team. If such a deal were to go down, it would be giving up on the next two seasons, something that I am not a fan of, but Houston has some good young players they could send back Boston’s way.
Well all of this is just food for thought, but expect Danny to make a move to sign a 10-day contract soon and then give it until the deadline before any trades go down.
Get well soon Rajon, you are still our future!