LayupDrill.com will be breaking down every team in the league with a brief review of the 2008-09 season, key personnel decisions, draft options, trade options, and overall state of the franchise. Consider this your favorite team's State of the Union. We continue this special with the next team up on our breakdown, the Boston Celtics.
As I write this post on Memorial Day 2009, millions of Americans will take time out today to reflect and remember those who have put their lives on the line serving our country. For basketball fans in the greater New England area, they will reflect on and remember the very recent memories of a Celtics run to a NBA title.
Just one year ago, Boston was on its way to the NBA Finals, led by the Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen. Veterans James Posey, P.J Brown, and Sam Cassell each played big roles on and off the court. When it was all over, the Celtics were bigger, tougher, and more determined than the Lakers, and they hoisted up their 18th NBA title.
That was then; this is now.
Boston lost in a hard-fought, seven-game series to the Orlando Magic this year, and were pushed to the limit by the young Chicago Bulls in the first round. Celtics fans saw some highlights this year of their younger players, as Rajon Rondo lifted his play in the postseason to another level and Glen Davis became an asset on the offensive end that Doc Rivers and company previously had not seen.
Boston brought in Stephon Marbury and Mikki Moore toward the end of the regular season to add depth and a veteran presence in hopes of re-creating that playoff magic. Marbury started to come around toward the end of the postseason, and will likely only stick around Boston as Rondo’s backup if he gets no other bites around the league. Moore never really seemed to get into a groove with Boston, and likely will be gone.
Other players that could be on the move include Eddie House, whom Boston will likely want to extend this summer, and Glen Davis, who is in only his second year of his contract but can become a restricted free agent.
That brings us to the Celtics' possible trade bait. Leon Powe and Tony Allen have been solid contributors for Doc Rivers, however, it is very possible they could be sent packing. The need to get another frontcourt player as well as some scoring help in the back court is something that GM Danny Ainge has high on his priority list. Boston’s wish list would point me to two players that the Celtics should at least consider as I play GM for a minute.
1. Travis Outlaw—The Blazers wing man would not have to shoulder as much offensive responsibility in Boston as he did in Portland. Playing with the Celtics, Outlaw could serve as the backup to Paul Pierce, and serve in the same role as James Posey did during their title run.
2. Rasheed Wallace—Sheed has more-than-likely played his last game in Detroit, but he still offers value to a title contender. A potential front court of Pierce, Garnett, and Wallace would cause all sorts of matchup problems to teams in the East, much like Orlando has with Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis, and Hedo Turkoglu.
Potential Roster with above moves:
The Celtics are without a first round draft pick this year, and honestly don’t care about that. This team's window of opportunity to win the NBA title is right now and realistically, this group has two more seasons together to try to win another title or two.
With Cleveland and Orlando getting better, the battle for supremacy in the East will be even tougher next year. However, there is certainly no reason to panic in Boston, as reloading in this salary cap era is a job served for only the best GMs, which Danny Ainge has proven he is.
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