Boston Celtics

If I Were Danny Ainge...

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 28: The Boston Celtics President Danny Ainge waves during the 2008 NBA World Championship ceremony before a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at the TD Banknorth Garden on October 28, 2008 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jay KingCorrespondent IJune 5, 2009

If I were Danny Ainge...

My first order of business would be to get my number raised to the rafters. I mean, come on, I won three NBA championships, I'm top five in playoff games played and I masterminded sweet No. 17. I deserve a little love. 

After that's taken care of, I'm paying a Celtics intern to rewatch every Eddie House three-pointer from this past season and find a few where his foot is on the line. I want my single-season Celtics three-point percentage record back.
After thoroughly protecting my legacy, I'm ready to take a look at my team. Here's what my roster and salary looks like for 2009-2010:






Kevin Garnett






Ray Allen






Paul Pierce






Kendrick Perkins






Rajon Rondo






Brian Scalabrine






Tony Allen






JR Giddens






Bill Walker






Eddie House*






Glen Davis






Leon Powe






Gabe Pruitt






Mikki Moore






Stephon Marbury









FA= Unrestricted Free Agent
*= Player Option
Red= Team Option
It's a tough season to be Boston's GM; I'm on the hook for $73,376,991 and Glen Davis, Leon Powe, Stephon Marbury and Mikki Moore are unrestricted free agents; I have the option to pick up Gabe Pruitt for another year at $825K, and Eddie House has a player option for $2.7 million.

I have the full mid-level exception available, with which I can sign any player to a contract for the average NBA Salary (about $5 mil) up to five seasons. I also have the bi-annual exception with which I can sign a player for a contract of up to two years and about $2million.  For a complete overview of salary cap rules and restrictions click here.
I will not resign Moore, but I have tougher decision with Davis, Powe and Marbury. Davis played well in place of Kevin Garnett, but he is an undersized power forward who doesn't rebound or defend well.

Also undersized, Powe is a solid defender and a grea offensive rebounder, but he'll be coming off his second major knee surgery and likely won't be ready for the season opener. Marbury didn't play very well this season, and looked rusty at times, but he is still a talented lead guard who could be a difference maker for the second unit. 
I have another tough decision regarding our decision to extend or release Gabe Pruitt. Pruitt will entering his third season and still has not cracked the rotation.

He is a young, athletic player with a soft touch from behind the arc, but he hasn't shown that he can be physical enough or a good enough ball-handler to succeed in this league. Ultimately, I would extend Pruitt only as a last resort and I'd pursue other options at PG.
I'd first try to resign Marbury to the veteran's minimum because I think he's been a good fit, but if he chases after more money, I'd let him go because he'd be a high-risk investment. 
Looking at the PG's outside of our own, I have interest in Ronnie Price and Andre Miller. Price is Deron Williams' high-energy backup in Utah who is solid both offensively and defensively, as well as showing some flashes of brilliance. Most importantly, Price would be a cheap sign, probably for two years at the league minimum.

Andre Miller would be more expensive, but at his age and for a chance to play for a contender, he might sign for the mid-level exception. He would be the best backup PG in the league, but we have more glaring needs for a Pierce/Allen backup and a backup center, which will command our money.
My main targets for the offseason are Marcin Gortat, of the Orlando Magic, and Trevor Ariza of the Los Angeles Lakers. Gortat has thrived this postseason as Dwight Howard's replacement. He's a great shot-blocker, runs the floor very well for his size, and has good athleticism.

The best part? He's 25 and has only played one full NBA season. There is potential there. At this stage in his career, Gortat is only a role player; he is good at what he does, but he is limited.
Which is exactly what we need!
A young, big man who can fulfill his role alongside "The Big Three" (really need a new nickname—save that for Parish, McHale and Bird) yet has the potential and youth to become a building-block along with Rondo and Perkins. Perk and Gortat could be a tough future tandem. 
On the other hand, Ariza perfectly fills the role of Pierce/Allen backup; he's a good defender who shoots threes well, and has a tendency to make a play or two a game with his athleticism and energy.

riza has played well all season and will command money; however, coming off of back-to-back Finals appearances, Ariza will most likely stay with the Lakers or sign with a title contending team. The Lakers are over the luxury tax and need to think about resigning Lamar Odom.

Also, Kobe has an opt-out clause for next season. Ariza may not be a top priority. That's where the Celtics mid-level exception might look good to the guy. And it'd be nice to stick it to LA and take one of their guys.
Other players I am interested include Dahntay Jones and Chris Anderson, Denver Nuggets, Brandon Bass, Dallas Mavericks, and Von Wafer, Houston Rockets. All of these guys are unrestricted free agents who we could likely sign on the cheap, and they fill a role. None would cost more that the bi-annual exception, in my opinion.

Dahntay Jones and Von Wafer would be really solid backups to Pierce and Allen, if we don't sign Ariza. On ther other hand, if we don't sign Gortat, Anderson (whom I wrote a great post about here) and Bass are both good role players, who would fill our needs up front. 
Matt Barnes is another option who could provide us with versatility, the lack of which cost us the Magic Series. We didn't have anyone who could match up with Lewis at the PF.

Barnes just finished a one-year deal for the league minimum with the Phoenix Suns and he can play multiple positions. He can backup Pierce and he can also play power forward in a small lineup. 
We've come full circle now and I've put off the Davis and Powe decisions for long enough.
I would resign Powe to a two-year deal at the league minimum because I think he still has value for our team and is a hard worker likely to recover from his knee injury. He is a good backup power forward. 
It kills me to say this, but I'd have to let Big Baby go. Check out what I had to say about Big Baby's future here. I love the guy and respect his output for us down the stretch, but I think he's going to be far too expensive to keep. His inspired play once KG went down will likely earn him a big payday from some stupid GM.

And that's great for Davis, he deserves it, but we just can't afford to throw a lot of money at him. We have bigger needs. Unless Davis decides to re-up on the cheap, I'd have to use his spot to sign Bass, or Anderson.
Basically, I've written 1,200 words to tell you my 2009-2010 roster  would look something like this:
C- Kendrick Perkins
C- Marcin Gortat 
PF- Kevin Garnett
PF- Brian Scalabrine
PF- Leon Powe
PF- Brandon Bass
SF- Paul Pierce
SF- Tony Allen ( I wish I could delete this)
SF- Bill Walker 
SF- Dahntay Jones/Matt Barnes( 1 of the 2) 
SG/SF- Von Wafer
SG- Eddie House
SG- Ray Allen
PG-Rajon Rondo
PG- Ronnie Price


C- Kendrick Perkins
C- Chris Anderson
PF- Kevin Garnett
PF- Leon Powe
PF- Brian Scalabrine
PF- Brandon Bass
SF- Paul Pierce
SF- Trevor Ariza
SF- Tony Allen ( I wish I could delete this)
SF- Bill Walker 
SF- Dahntay Jones/Matt Barnes( 1 of the 2) 
SG/SF- Von Wafer
SG- Eddie House
SG- Ray Allen
PG-Rajon Rondo
PG- Ronnie Price

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