Welcome to the first edition of the Celtics Town Boston Celtics mailbag. Starting this website in the offseason, I thought the news would be dead and the Celtics would remain mostly out of the rumors.
Shows how stupid I am.
Since losing to the Orlando Magic, all hell has broken loose in the Boston Celtics organization. First, Ray Allen was going to get traded for the second pick in the draft. Then it was Rondo getting traded for the second pick. Next, the rumor came that Kendrick Perkins and Bill Walker were headed to Memphis in return for that same second pick.
The Celtics wanted to get rid of Ray Allen’s contract, then they wanted to get rid of Rondo’s contract; now, Danny Ainge is claiming that the Celtics are fine with their current roster and have no need to clean it up.
Meanwhile, the Celts still have to decide what to do with their free agents. Do they keep Glen Davis? What about Leon Powe? What free agents are the Celtics targeting outside guys who played for them last year?
Man, it’s a good thing I’m here to help you guys sort all this stuff out.
How are things where you are? Where I live sucks right now because even though I live near LA. I can't stand the Fakers or BallHog Cryin Bryant. I think it sucks they won our title because the Big Ticket and Powe The Show were hurt. Have to love the way Big Baby really stepped up and when we resign him and Leon they are going to be so much better.
Can’t believe on Sports Tonight they are saying trade Rondo, no way he just needs to work on his midrange jumper and freethrows. Are they really going to trade him? – Steve, California
For a while, it seemed as if the Celtics were really going to trade Rondo. Rumors were swirling about Rondo, all kinds of stories were written about Rondo’s bad attitude and poor relationship with Doc and his teammates, and Danny Ainge was apparently shopping Rondo and lusting after Tyreke Evans.
But let’s just step back and take a look at the situation.
Rondo is 23 years old. He just averaged 16.9 points, 9.7 rebounds and 9.8 assists for the entire postseason.
And he did all that despite having the jumpshot of my dog Montana. Once he develops a halfway decent jumper (and he will, his shot has already improved a lot, he just needs to gain confidence in it), Rondo will be more or less completely unstoppable.
Now do you think they’re going to trade him just because he has a few problems with Doc Rivers? Just remember, this is the same Danny Ainge who decided it would be a great idea to sign the insane Stephon Marbury in the middle of last season.
With a track record like that, I don’t see Ainge getting rid of Rondo for anything less than pulling a Latrell Sprewell on Doc. And certainly not for a pu-pu platter highlighted by Tyreke Evans.
But if Ainge does decide to go off the deep end and gets rid of one or more of the Celtics’ starters…
Who would you be more willing to part with, Ray-Ray or Rondo? – Tim, Boston
This one’s an easy one.
Though Ray is one of my favorite players and certainly invaluable to the team, his best years are most likely behind him. He’s played 942 regular season games and 77 postseason games and will be 34 years old on July 20.
Don’t get me wrong; Ray was our most consistent performer this year and when you factor in his unbelievable clutch shooting, Ray was the 2009 Boston Celtics’ MVP.
But this isn’t last year. Unfortunately, the NBA is a business and you have to decide who you’re going to keep and who you’re going to let go.
If the Celtics need to let a player go for monetary reasons, I’d rather have it be Ray, an aging veteran in the twilight of his career, than Rondo, a budding superstar ready to take the next step to truly become one of the NBA’s elite point guards.
Are you concerned with KG’s knee and his return next year? Will he be healthy enough to bring the Celtics their 18th championship? – Ben, New Hampshire
Of course I'm concerned. As a Celtics' fan, how could you not be?
All the reports out of Boston are that the surgery went well and K.G. should be completely ready to play come training camp.
Still, you HAVE TO BE concerned. Garnett has played over 1,100 games in his career and was obviously in pain throughout the entire season.
There’s a possibility, which is probably pretty high, that Garnett has just had too much wear and tear on his body to continue playing at such a high level. All aging stars reach a point where they begin to fall apart physically, and I fear KG may have reached that point.
On the other hand, if the surgery actually did the job and Garnett can return to his 2008 form the Celtics are my favorites to take home the title in 2010.
There is no doubt in my mind they would have won the championship this year with a healthy Kevin Garnett. Watching the playoffs, I couldn’t help but notice a significant dropoff in the level of play from last year’s playoffs to this year’s.
The Lakers that won the title this year were actually worse than last year. Sure, they got Andrew Bynum back, but he did absolutely nothing for them in the playoffs.
At the same time, Derek Fisher, Sasha Vujacic, and Jordan Farmar all took significant steps back and the Lakers bench was forced to rely on Shannon Brown, a player who couldn’t even get a sniff of playing time in Charlotte.
You’re telling me a healthy Celtics wouldn’t have destroyed that Lakers team? The Celts would have been head and shoulders better than every other team, and should be next year if Garnett returns to form and Ainge decides not to make any crazy moves.
Can you believe these Rondo rumors? I really hope they don’t let him go. Anyways, that isn’t even my question. My question is this… What free agents should the Celtics sign for next year? Randy Mack, Chicago
The first question the Celtics and Danny Ainge have to answer is what to do with Powe and Big Baby. The Celtics actually may be really lucky with both of them. Powe should come cheap because of the injury and Big Baby should come cheap because any team with cap space is looking forward to the free agent bonanza in 2010.
I would love to see them resign both of those guys, but I don’t think the Celtics should be done after just those signings.
In a perfect world, the Celtics would sign a capable backup point guard, a playmaking small forward capable of spelling Paul Pierce and a defensive-minded big man in the mold of P.J. Brown. Do I think they’ll be able to sign guys at all those positions? No.
So they should focus first on finding Pierce a backup. Last year, he had to play way too many minutes because the dropoff when Tony Allen subbed in was incredibly severe. Tony has proven to be too dumb on a basketball court to play many minutes and J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker aren’t ready yet.
I would love to see the Celtics sign a free agent from the group of Grant Hill, Trevor Ariza, Anthony Parker, or Matt Barnes. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little trust in our backup small forward? It’d be way better than cringing in fear every time they came to the scorer’s table, which is what happened to me last year.
Their second priority should be to sign a big. Even if they do resign both Powe and Davis, the Celtics could still use a defensive stopper to man the middle. Powe and Davis are both very undersized and don’t give the Celts much on defense.
They could use someone to come in and do the dirty work—rebound, contest shots, and play post defense. I would love to see them sign Chris Anderson, but would certainly settle for Antonio McDyess, Rasheed Wallace, or Marcin Gortat.
Point guard should be the final priority, because Eddie House (who will most likely exercise his player option to return next year) could always move back to point guard if necessary.
I’m not a Celtics fan, but I read your site anyways, and I love the draft stuff you guys do. Who are your sleepers for the draft? – Todd, Massachusetts
My top sleeper is Eric Maynor, the point guard from VCU. Every time I saw him play in college, I liked him a little bit more. He has great poise and patience, and knows how to change gears very well. I think he’ll be a solid point guard from day one.
Another guy to watch is Terrence Williams. NBA teams don’t necessarily like him as much as they should because he isn’t a great scorer, but he can do everything else for his team. He is a great athlete and should be able to be a great distributor in the NBA, too.
While we’re on the topic, my choice for biggest bust is Stephen Curry. Why the NBA thinks a 6’2, pretty slow shooting guard will succeed in the NBA is beyond me. He will develop into a decent player in time because he can flat-out shoot the rock, but I don’t ever see him being better than decent or worthy of a top-10 pick.
I’m also going to name a sleeper choice for Rookie of the Year: James Harden. With the way he methodically works his way past his defenders and into the lane, he reminds me a lot of Paul Pierce. Who, by the way, will help the Celtics win the 2010 NBA title next year.
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