I always consider Draft Day as the start of the new season ahead. It's the moment when some trades are made, the rookies fight for a spot in the team and all the rosters shake to make room for a new dream building itself strongly towards the following months. Personally, I welcome this season after the tough end of the last one. A new chapter is in front of us and I am eager to turn the first pages of this new book.
I ignore whether Danny Ainge has considered postponing his holidays to September or late August because he will surely have a busy month of July. If the Celtics were to play any game by next Thursday they would have no coach, no assistant coach and a complete guaranteed roster of 4 players, of which only 3 would be able to dress for the game. It sounds incredible, doesn't it? Only Rondo, Garnett, Davis and the injured Perkins have a guaranteed contract for next season (if I'm not wrong Gaffney and Lafayette's contracts are unguaranteed). This is the scenery at Danny Ainge's office right now. The Celtics building is right now based on the foundations of Rajon Rondo (thank goodness he got that extension last Fall), the last two years of Garnett's extension signed in 2007, and our two remaining big men's last years of contract with the green. Pretty much the future is only sure for Rajon Rondo at this moment, a sign that this team will be progressively built around him.
Let's explore the situation by focusing on the state of each position on the court:
1. POINT GUARD
Signed Players: Rajon Rondo
Rookies: Avery Bradley, Oliver Lafayette
Free Agents: Nate Robinson
My take: Bradley will be signed and he will get all those minutes. Robinson will be gone and Lafayette's situation will be cleared by training camp in October.
2. SHOOTING GUARD
Signed Players: None
Free Agents: Ray Allen, Tony Allen, Marquis Daniels
It all depends on the Allens in this spot since I believe Marquis is gone. The team wants Ray to continue but I am sure that Ray wants more years and a little more money than what Danny may have offered during the year. Maths and logics will have to be displayed on the chess table between Danny and Ray's agent. Regarding Tony I think that both parts will reach an agreement with much more ease.
Ainge may also (and he should) add more shooters to this position, particularly if Ray's contract negotiations drag. Bringing back Eddie House could be a solution, Eddie provides some shooting, energy and charisma to this team and could also play some PG minutes which would make Nate and Oliver expendable. Another option is to sign someone like JJ Redick, who received some interest from Danny last year (he offered JR Giddens' corpse I believe).
My take: Ray and Tony will be back, Marquis is gone, we get JJ
3. SMALL FORWARD
Signed Players: None
Rookies: Tony Gaffney
Free Agents: Paul Pierce*, Michael Finley
This position looks haunted right now. With Paul Pierce still having to meet with Ainge, there is basically nobody out there. Right now we have a rookie (Gaffney) who hasn't still worn the green and another one (Harangody) who I believe is more a PF in this moment. Whether or not he adapts to the 3 or he is left as a Big Baby's student is yet to be known. If a game was to be played next week, Gaffney would be our starting forward LOL
I think we surely need to add a big name here, specially if Paul decides to leave. Even if he stays (which I suppose it's the most logical choice for him and the team) we needed someone last year at this position ever since James Posey left. John Salmons could be that man, though we would possibly would have to spend the full MLE to entice him here. Another choice (and for the same price I guess) would be Mike Miller. Miller already played for Doc in Orlando so if Rivers stays he might be the right choice here. Signing him would also make the JJ/House idea useless, allowing management to concentrate on bringing a solid center instead
My take: Paul Pierce continues, we sign Salmons. Gaffney's situation is cleared by October, though I doubt he makes the final roster.
Edit: I forgot to mention Michael Finley's corpse. We soon knew why he was left go by Popovich. He had very little gas left in the tank when we signed him.
4. POWER FORWARD
Signed Players: Kevin Garnett, Glen Davis
Rookies: Luke Harangody
Free Agents: Brian Scalabrine, Shelden Williams
This spot is the only one who is more or less assured right now. KG will be healthier next year and Big Baby has proven he can be a very good player in this league. As the situation stands now, they would have to share their time on the court since there is virtually no center in the team available now. Rookie Harangody seems a logical replacement for the other two 4's this team had last year. Shelden is gone after his play in the Finals and his lack of offensive IQ, whereas Scal will probably get an offer from the coaching staff unless he decides to retire in New Jersey or Philly as was rumored.
Adding an athletic PF like Ty Thomas would be huge too, but I imagine the team would like to address the Center situation instead
My take: Scal and Shelden are gone, Harangody is a pleasant surprise and becomes fan favorite.
Signed Players: Kendrick Perkins
99% gone: Rasheed Wallace
Free Agents: None
I am still waiting to see an official statement and quotes from Rasheed Wallace and his almost sure departure from the team. Last year he came with the hope of getting some minutes to help while KG's knee struggled to regain composure and to add some punch from the bench. This year he would be our starting C if he decided to continue. The Kendrick Perkins serious injury and the potential retirement of Sheed Wallace leaves the Celtics without a Center.
Obviously this is the position that management needs to address in the following days and weeks. Danny decided not do it through the draft picks so free agency and trade options will have to be explored. A guy like Tyson Chandler would be huge playing with an athletic freak like Rajon Rondo in the back court. We probably need another player too because we don't know how long will Perk be out and it would be safe to think that he won't be quite in shape until 2011. Brendan Haywood, Brad Miller and Shaquille O'Neal are other players that could help here on a limited time. I don't know which of them would appeal more to the team's management. Do we supply Sheed's locker room intensity and charisma with the big presence of Shaq? Do we replace Sheed's toughness with Miller's intensity (and nasty play)? Big questions to be answered here.
My take: Sheed retires, we make a trade for a center and we sign Miller or Shaq
So, that's more or less it. I have absolutely no idea of what will happen in the next weeks and how this team will be built for this season. All could depend on Doc's decision after the weekend. I believe the core of the team will remain (Pierce, Ray and Tony getting their contracts updated) and I hope Danny brings another shooter, a solid small forward and a couple of bigs for this team. Bohemian 6/26/2010 04:17:00 AM Tweet